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Biden to Host White House Hanukkah Reception amid Increasing Antisemitism

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President Joe Biden plans to host a reception at the White House Monday evening to mark the annual Jewish holiday, Hanukkah.

Biden, his wife, Jill, will be in attendance, as will the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, Doug Emhoff, who is also Jewish, and nearly 800 guests.

Last week at the White House, Emhoff attended the lighting ceremony of a massive menorah outside the White House to mark the first night of Hanukkah, saying that American Jews are “feeling alone” and “in pain.”

According to ABC News, Monday evening’s event will be led by Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, Senior Rabbi at Central Synagogue in New York City, and invitees include Holocaust survivors, members of Congress, state and local officials, entertainers, and leaders from across the Jewish religious denominations.

The Jewish festival, which is being celebrated this year from Dec. 7 and continues through Friday, includes the nightly lighting of a menorah.

Per the White House, Biden plans to share how Hanukkah is a timeless story of miracles and that we can find the light despite dark times. 

The reception follows two months after the war between Israel and Hamas began after the terror group attacked the Jewish state on Oct. 7. In May, the Biden administration announced its first-ever national strategy to counter antisemitism. The strategy presented more than 100 actions, including a series of steps to raise awareness and understanding of antisemitism and the threat it poses across the United States.

On Saturday, Liz Magill resigned as president of the University of Pennsylvania after following backlash over her comments at a congressional hearing last week, where she was unable to respond to questions on whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated the school’s conduct policy. 

Meanwhile, universities across the country have been accused of failing to protect Jewish students amid increased fears of antisemitism worldwide and the aftermath of the war in Gaza.

Over in Israel, Hanukkah celebrations continued through this week despite the ongoing war. 

Pastor Israel Pochtar with Beit Hallel Congregation in Ashdod told Mission News Network that church volunteers are delivering aid to Israelis living in bomb shelters in the south.

“We buy food, and we have them in food packages for Holocaust survivors, single mothers, or mothers who have been stuck home and cannot even go to the grocery stores to buy groceries because they have little kids…. It is dangerous. Rockets are coming down and exploding,” Pochtar says.

“For some who cannot come [to pick up food], we go into houses and apartments and deliver them,” he added. “We’re also going to bomb shelters in the city of Ashkelon because people during the war live in the bomb shelters…. So we need to get bulletproof vests and helmets because it’s a dangerous place, but we did it.”

“Many times, I will get a phone call or email from people I don’t know who just heard about us and want to do something for Israel through the local Church,” the pastor said. 

Pochtar also rejoiced that there had been opportunities to share the Gospel with Jews, Arabs, as well as refugees from other countries.

“It is amazing to see how God is using our church and all the volunteers we have,” Pochtar says. “We’ve been able to help thousands and thousands of people, all in the name of Jesus and the message about Christians. It’s from Christians who stand with you; they love you. That’s it.”

Donations to the church’s war ministry can be made here.

Photo Courtesy: ©GettyImages/Liudmila Chernetska


Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.

READ: THE CONFLICT IN ISRAEL: WHAT CAN I DO?

LISTEN: Christian Podcasts about Israel

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.

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