What could be more American than this --- a photo taken yesterday at the White House as President Barack and first lady Michelle Obama sing with Rabbi Steven Exter during one of two (early) Hanukkah receptions? "Early" because Hanukkah begins this year at sunset on Dec. 24, according to the Gregorian calendar, and continues for eight days --- until Sunday, Jan. 1.
Coverage of events like this makes me happy as the holidays approach, in tandem this year; and I'm focusing on the joys of the Obama administration as its days wind down --- rather than on the uncertainties (and chaotic coverage) of the president-elect as his team prepares to launch. There will be plenty of time to consider the latter once both holiday seasons are over, although inattention is not advised.
We've been fortunate during the last eight years to have this beautiful, gracious, intelligent and inclusive family in the White House and that's cause for celebration even though the future is uncertain. So I plan to celebrate with them.
And Hanukkah is about hope --- enough oil to keep the Menorah in the Temple alight for only one day and yet it burned for eight, until new and unprofaned oil could be prepared.