Hanukkah begins with lighting of National Menorah
WASHINGTON The Jewish feast of Hanukkah has begun with the lighting of the National Menorah on the Ellipse -- the park between the White House and the Washington Monument.Rabbi Levi Shemtov, a celebrant at the ceremony, says the menorah represents illumination, with an additional branch lit each night of the eight-day ceremony.
Hanukkah commemorates the Jewish victory over Greek oppressors almost 22-hundred years ago.
Rabbi Shemtov says the National Menorah, which stands near the National Christmas Tree, is about 30 feet tall -- as big as Jewish tradition allows.
In a White House message, President Bush says the menorah symbolizes "the triumph of faith over tyranny." He says Hanukkah is a time to thank God, remember American troops and their families and "pray that all who live under oppression will see their day of freedom."
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.