(JTA) — President Donald Trump will continue the White House tradition of hosting a Chanukah party.
Invitations have been sent out for the Dec. 7 event, Maggie Haberman, The New York Times White House reporter, wrote Monday on Twitter. Chanukah starts this year on the evening of Dec. 12.
George W. Bush started the tradition of an annual Chanukah party in 2011, the first year of his presidency. Barack Obama, his successor, continued the parties and often hosted two receptions to accommodate demand.
Invitees typically include the heads of American Jewish organizations, Jewish members of the administration and Congress, and other prominent American Jews.
Starting in 1979 with a lighting by Jimmy Carter, presidents have also participated in a ceremonial lighting of the National Menorah erected near the White House by Chabad, a haredi Orthodox Hasidic sect.
Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, are Orthodox Jews, as well as top White House aides. However, many Jews and non-Jews have criticized the president for not sufficiently repudiating anti-Semitism, including among his white nationalist and neo-Nazi supporters.
The most recent example was his response to violence at an August white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which he blamed “both sides” and said “very fine people” marched alongside the neo-Nazis and Klansmen.
At the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., last month, Trump said people had stopped using the word “Christmas” due to political correctness.
“We’re saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again,” he said, earning a standing ovation from the crowd.
Chanukah, an eight-day holiday, will end several days before Christmas.
Top photo: President Donald Trump making a statement on the administration’s strategy for dealing with Iran, in the White House in Washington, D.C., Oct. 13, 2017. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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