White House Hanukkah Celebration


“Shalom, Sivan. I must tell you about something that we experienced during the last few days. The White House invited my mother to a Hanukkah party with Trump. My mom, the Holocaust survivor Zehava Unger, 88 years old, refused to go. She had long scheduled on that day an annual Hanukkah party with the entire family, and this was supposed to be her chance to meet her more than 90 descendants! For her, this is the biggest victory over the Nazis. Only after heavy pressure from the family, did she agree to change her priorities and said ‘yes’ to the White House. It was an amazing party. I’m surprised that it wasn’t covered in the Israeli Media. Trump decided to invite 8 Holocaust survivors, one for every Hanukkah candle. It was moving to see him call the seven female survivors and one male survivor to the stage, one by one, by name, and among them – my mom. He spoke about the heroism of the Maccabees and about them continuing that heroism, since they fought against the worst kind of evil in our time, and prevailed. He turned to them and said: ‘For you I moved the embassy to Jerusalem. I did it for you.” My mother handed Trump a personal letter, and this is what she wrote there:

‘On Hanukkah of 1944 I was languishing in Auschwitz; alone, freezing and hungry; not knowing how many more seconds the Nazi beasts would allow me to live. I was only 14 years old at the time. Ironically, a delegation of Jewish Rabbis couldn’t even make their way into the White House to plead for us… Miraculously, I survived, without anyone helping me and I had no family and no home to return to. Seventy-four years later it is again Hanukkah, and the pages of history have fortunately turned. Today, I am a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother to scores of lovely children. I am privileged to be invited to the White House, which is now occupied by the greatest friend the Jewish people has ever had among the leaders of the free world’.”

Estie Goldberger

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סיון רהב-מאיר

Sivan Rahav-Meir is a media personality and lecturer. Married to Yedidya, the mother of five. Lives in Jerusalem. She works for Israel TV news, writes a column for Yediot Aharonot newspaper, and hosts a weekly radio show on Galei Zahal (Army Radio). Her lectures on the weekly Torah portion are attended by hundreds and the live broadcast attracts thousands more listeners throughout the world.
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