East Room

5:48 P.M. EST

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And I love my husband.  (Laughter.)  Happy Hanukkah, everyone.  Happy Hanukkah.

To our great, phenomenal President Joe Biden, to our phenomenal First Lady Jill Biden, thank you for welcoming all of us and for what you do every day — for what you do every day.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, thank you for your leadership.  (Applause.) 

And Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt and Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt and all of the Rabbis here tonight: Thank you for joining us and always lifting our spirits and reminding us of the importance of seeing the light in each other and, through these periods that we experience of darkness, always reminding us of what each of us has and can give to each other — that is about light. 

It is an honor to be here with friends, old and new, and to mark the fourth night of Hanukkah.

As the Second Gentleman — the first Second Gentleman –said, Hanukkah is a one of our family favorites as a holiday.  And every year, our family, like so many around the world, gather to reflect on the lessons of the Hanukkah story — the power of the people, the possibility of the future; that even in despair, there is hope; that even in darkness, there is light.

We all know, for 2,000 years, these important lessons have been a beacon for people across our world.

As Jews have gathered to light the menorah — a tradition that has endured, yes, during moments of darkness; a tradition that has endured in moments also of celebration — we have known, and always known, that we will not be deterred, that we will not be distracted from what we know is good and our commitment — an enduring commitment — to good.

After World War Two, we remember Jewish immigrants together with merchants and members of the Coast Guard gathered for Hanukkah services on Ellis Island.

And as Doug mentioned, he went to Ellis Island and looked at the papers of his family members who arrived in the United States through Ellis Island. 

Decades later, when a brick was thrown through the window of a Jewish home in Billings, Montana, the town came together.  Thousands put menorahs in their windows in a stand against hate.

And just last year, as [at] hospitals and nursing homes, staff members celebrated Hanukkah with patients who were separated from their families due to the pandemic.

So, tonight, we carry on this ancient tradition, this sacred tradition.

And when we light this beautiful menorah, we will do so not only for ourselves, but for all those who came before and for all those who have yet to arrive.

As one candle lights many, may the hope we share tonight ignite the hope throughout our world for generations to come.

And now, it is my honor to introduce a man of deep faith — I work with him every day, and he is guided by the light always — a leader who deeply understands the Jewish faith and stands with the Jewish people of our nation and our world, our President, Joe Biden.

                          END                 5:52 P.M. EST

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