US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides on Saturday night lit the seventh candle of Hanukkah with Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Nides' son Max also attended the event, as did representatives of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, Israeli government, and Israel Police.

Speaking at the event, Nides said it was an "honor" to be at the Western Wall, noting that it is at the foot of the place where the Hanukkah miracle took place.

"Rabbi, it is a great honor to join you here at the Western Wall as we light the seventh candle of Hanukkah," Nides began. "This has been an incredibly meaningful Hanukkah season for me, both personally and professionally."

"When I came to Israel for the first time over 40 years ago, I was 15 years old, a little Jewish kid from Duluth, Minnesota. Now, I’ve returned here to live in Jerusalem, and to serve as the US Ambassador. I have been honored to be invited to light the candles here at the Western Wall. Now that is a Hanukkah miracle.

"Two nights ago, I lit the Hanukkah candles at Yad VaShem, after a very moving visit. I was reminded that Hanukkah celebrates the Jewish people’s resilience and the struggle to maintain the Jewish identity in troubled times. Unfortunately, in many places around the world Jews face old and new forms of hatred, anti-Semitism, bigotry, as well as denial and distortion of the Holocaust.

"That’s one of the reasons my first trip was to go to Yad VaShem, where I discussed combating global anti-Semitism and Holocaust distortion and denial. The United States stands firmly with Yad VaShem and with all Israelis in opposing and fighting against this hate."

He continued: "Yesterday, before the lighting of the sixth candle I visited Ein HaShofet, the kibbutz where I worked as that 15-year-old kid. The values of tzedakah and avodah – charity and hard work – that I learned there, are the ones that you never forget when experienced at such a young age, and that trip shaped part of my Jewish identity."

"Tonight, it is very fitting that we light the seventh candle together. I won’t tell you how important that number is to us Jews in signifying completion and perfection; I’m sure you have a whole sermon on that, Rabbi, for me. But for me, the honor is really in being here at the Kotel—at the foot of the very site of the Hanukkah miracle.

"And tomorrow, I will have the honor of lighting the final candle, the eighth Hanukkah candle, with President Herzog after I present my credentials. I will then be the real official US Ambassador to Israel. So, I will light that candle in honor of all the American Jews who celebrate Hanukkah in a wide diversity of ways."

"And in the end," Nides concluded, "Hanukkah is not just about remembering the miracles of the past, but brightening the future. As the Hanukkah song goes, 'we come to banish the darkness.' Let us band together this evening as we shine a bright light on the Kotel (Western Wall -ed.) for all of us to see."

In a tweet, Nides wrote, "Deeply grateful to light the seventh candle of Hanukkah tonight at the Western Wall. As the Hanukkah song goes, we come to banish the darkness,ׁ and together, we shine a bright light. Hanukkah sameach (happy Hanukkah)!"

Tom Nides at the Western Wall on the seventh night of Hanukkah Matty Stern / U.S. Embassy Jerusalem

Tom Nides at the Western Wall on the seventh night of Hanukkah Matty Stern / U.S. Embassy Jerusalem

Tom Nides at the Western Wall on the seventh night of Hanukkah Matty Stern / U.S. Embassy Jerusalem
Tom Nides lights Hanukkahcandles atthe Western Wall
Matty Stern / U.S. Embassy Jerusalem

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