U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will attend the 35th annual National Menorah-Lighting in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Dec. 16—the first night of Chanukah. The ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. on the Ellipse, a popular public park located just south of the White House.

Attendees are encouraged to arrive as early as possible due to security measures.

While details about Biden’s role at the event have not yet been confirmed, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, executive vice president of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad), which sponsors the annual event, says he is looking forward to the vice president’s participation. The lighting has been known to draw thousands of individuals and families to usher in the eight-day holiday.

“At the premiere Chanukah event in America, if not the world,” says Shemtov, “we’re delighted that the administration has chosen to participate on such a senior level.”

The National Menorah Lighting started in 1979 as part of a campaign initiated in 1974 by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, to raise awareness of the holiday and hold public menorah lightings. It was attended in 1979—in the midst of the Iran hostage crisis—by President Jimmy Carter, who lit the shamash (the helper candle from which the others are kindled) and shared greetings with the assembled crowd.

Every president since has recognized Chanukah with a special menorah-lighting. In 1982, the menorah lit in Lafayette Park became publicly referred to as the “National Menorah” by President Ronald Reagan.

Last year, some 70 million viewers watched the ceremony as it was broadcast on TV networks across the country.

U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden will attend the 35th annual National Chanukah Menorah Lighting in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Dec. 16—the first night of Chanukah. The ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. on the Ellipse, just south of the White House.
U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden will attend the 35th annual National Chanukah Menorah Lighting in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Dec. 16—the first night of Chanukah. The ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. on the Ellipse, just south of the White House.