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National Menorah


Annually attended by thousands and seen by tens of millions

One of the more prominent activities of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) is the annual lighting ceremony of the National Chanukah Menorah, on the Ellipse, just across from the White House. This lighting of the world's largest menorah is viewed by tens of millions across the nation and around the world via media, many of them hundreds of miles from any Jewish community, which makes it very difficult for them to otherwise celebrate and enjoy Chanukah properly.

Prominent guests including the President, Vice President, members of the Cabinet, Congress and the diplomatic corps, as well as numerous senior Administration officials and international dignitaries and celebrities, have all attended and participated in annual lighting ceremonies of the National Menorah since it was first lit in 1979.

Indeed, this Menorah has become a national, even global symbol of the festival of Chanukah, bringing inspiration to many communities to sponsor even more public menorah lighting ceremonies of their own. After all, this is the essence of the celebration - to proclaim and celebrate the miracle of Chanukah - The Festival of Lights in the most public manner possible.

In this way, we reaffirm the celebration of our freedom, inspired by the historic and present victory of right over might, light over darkness, and understanding and justice over intolerance and bigotry.

The National Menorah Council is uniquely positioned and prepared to offer creative, logistical and other support to many communities, as initial hesitation is replaced by pride and enthusiasm regarding this celebration.

In addition, our critically acclaimed annual celebration of Chanukah on the internet, "Virtual Chanukah", attracted millions of visitors and page views over the years. Through such innovative concepts, Jews and their families anywhere can illuminate their homes and lives with the special glow and meaning of the Chanukah lights.

2004 marked the 25th anniversary celebration of the National Menorah coinciding with the formation of the National Menorah Council, which received support from all the nation's governors and these activities now enjoy significant support in all 50 states.

Planned activities for the 40th anniversary celebrations include the development of a new global Chanukah event, across all times zones, building on the successful early "Chanukah Live" intercontinental satellite transmissions of Chanukah celebrations, established in 1989.

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