US President Joe Biden on Wednesday delivered remarks at a Hanukkah candle lighting at the White House.
Biden was joined by First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff. Also in attendance was Israel’s Ambassador to Israel, Michael Herzog.
Emhoff, who is Jewish, drew parallels between Jewish and American ideals.
"As the first Jewish spouse of an American President or Vice President, celebrating Hanukkah...it is humbling," he said. "Our history, our values as Jews, are an essential part of who we are as Americans. Jewish values are American values."
Biden recalled meeting Prime Minister Golda Meir during a visit to Israel years ago, and remembered that Meir told him that Israel’s “secret weapon” is that Israelis have nowhere else to go.
“When Jewish families place menorahs in their windows, we’re proclaiming liberty. We’re exercising the freedom that the Maccabees sought to simply practice their faith, and we’re showing that there’s still light, that even the most fragile flame can be sustained in the tradition and nourish the soul of the people,” said Biden.
“A little bit of light, wherever it is found, can dispel the darkness and illuminate a path forward. Whether it’s in the Temple of Jerusalem or the temple of our democracy, nothing is beyond repair. We can always build back better, and perhaps build back brighter.”
The menorah was lit by Senator Chuck Schumer, Long Island infectious disease expert Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt, and Susie Stern, a member of Jewish Democratic Women for Action.