George Bush photo

Message on the Observance of Hanukkah

December 18, 1989

I am pleased to send my warmest greetings to the members of the Jewish community as you celebrate Hanukkah.

The Festival of Lights is based on a historic event that reveals both the power of prayer and the great faith and determination of the Jewish people. According to Jewish tradition, when the Maccabees overcame the Seleucid Empire and prepared to rededicate their Holy Temple in Jerusalem, they could find only enough purified oil to light the sacred Menorah for one night. When the small cruse of oil lasted for eight nights, the Jewish people knew the Almighty had rewarded their faithfulness with a miracle.

Today, we draw a valuable lesson from this chapter in Jewish history. Just as one cruse of oil was able to lift the darkness for eight nights, so, too, can one act of kindness brighten the lives of others. Hanukkah poignantly reminds us that, with commitment to a spiritual ideal, our highest goals can be realized.

In remembering the "miracle of the lights," we celebrate not only the triumph of faith but also the undeniable strength of man's yearning for liberty and justice. Hanukkah recalls the great victory won by the Maccabees in their struggle to worship freely in their own way. This year, as Jews around the world pause to observe this festival, all of us can share in the joy of those peoples who are just beginning to enjoy success in their own struggle for freedom and self-determination.

Barbara and the entire Bush family join with me in wishing the Jewish community a joyous Hanukkah.

George Bush

George Bush, Message on the Observance of Hanukkah Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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