Chanukah on the Ellipse

National Menorah Lighting Ceremony Marks First Night of Chanukah

By Eun Yang
|  Wednesday, Dec 1, 2010  |  Updated 6:15 PM EDT
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Chanukah on the Ellipse

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Wednesday night is the first night of Chanukah, and the president will mark the start of the holiday with the lighting of the world's largest menorah on the Ellipse. Thousands are expected to take part in the festivities, which start at 4 p.m.

The director of the Office of Management and Budget, Jack Lew, will light the National Menorah, the Associated Press reported.

World class violinist Itzhak Perlman is performing. The United States Navy Band will be on hand as well. Visitors also can enjoy hot latkes and donuts, and get free menorah kits and dreidels.

Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Jewish Second Temple in Jerusalem in 164 B.C. after its desecration by the Syrian-Greeks. The eight day festival begins Wednesday.

The first National Menorah lighting was in 1979 and was attended by President Jimmy Carter. Last year, the menorah was lit by former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Tickets are free. Happy Chanukah!

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