President Obama hosted more than 550 guests at the White House Thursday night for a Hanukkah reception that included members of Congress, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, as well as top administration officials, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and a host of Jewish leaders and rabbis who flew in for the occasion.
Guests dined on a strictly Kosher menu of dishes like Pine Nut Herb Crusted Lamb Chops, Homemade Potato with Scallion Pancakes, and even a selection of fresh sushi rolls, all while listening to the U.S. Marine Chamber Orchestra performing "A Tribute to Jewish-American Composers."
During his remarks, the president also tipped his hat to Michael Oren, Israel's Ambassador to the U.S., and Jarrod Bernstein, White House Director of Jewish Outreach. The president described the Hanukkah story as a reminder "that miracles come in all shapes and sizes. Because to most people, the miracle of Hanukkah would have looked like nothing more than a simple flame, but the believers in the temple knew it was something else. They knew it was something special." But he did admit to "jumping the gun" by celebrating the holiday 12 days early. "The way I see it, we're just extending the holiday spirit. We're stretching it out ... We do have to be careful that your kids don't start thinking Hanukkah lasts twenty nights instead of eight," he joked. "That will cause some problems."
(h/t Obama Foodarama)