Dec 13, 2009

How big is your guest list?

Ever think a Hannukah party could get controversial?

Here comes the President, trying to make a gesture to the Jews by hosting a nice Hannukah party, as did previous presidents, and all it does is upset people.

People are upset that guest list has been reduced fro the Bush days - Bush invited upwards of 600 people to his Hannukah party, and bama's guest list is down to about 500. Also, the invitation calls it a "holiday reception" rather than directly mentioning Hannukah.

From the NY Times:

But to the dismay of some administration officials, the plans for next week’s party — one of the hottest holiday events for the nation’s Jewish elite — have been overtaken by feverish debate over the size of the guest list, the language on the invitations and what this says (or does not say) about Mr. Obama’s relationship with Jews.

President George W. Bush, who began the tradition of White House Hanukkah parties, invited 600 people to his last party, administration officials say. But rumors spread wildly, first in the Israeli press and then locally, that President Bush had invited 800 people and that the Obamas were planning to invite only 400. (Administration officials say they have invited 550 people.)

The invitations have also caused some consternation because they make no mention of Hanukkah, inviting guests to “a holiday reception” on Dec. 16.

In an opinion article published by JTA, the Jewish news agency, Tevi Troy, a former Bush administration liaison to Jewish groups, warned that the Obama White House had given Jewish Americans “a number of reasons to fear that it takes its votes for granted.” Mr. Troy cited as examples the administration’s call for a freeze on Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the decision to honor Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland, who has been accused by some Democratic lawmakers of anti-Israel bias.

Mr. Troy said the reduced guest list created “a nagging sense that there may be a studied callousness at work here.”

His commentary, published on Nov. 23, and an article a week earlier in The Jerusalem Post, touched off a flurry of news articles, blog postings and kitchen table discussions. This week, the Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot published photographs of President Bush lighting a menorah and Mr. Obama standing with Santa Claus alongside an article headlined, “Obama Downsizes Hanukkah in the White House.”

and from Rabbi Levi Shem-Tov, the guy kashering the White House kitchen, we hear a voice of reason..

Rabbi Levi Shemtov, who is overseeing the process of making the White House kitchen kosher for the party, said he was besieged with questions about the issue on a recent trip to Israel.

“I usually get asked when I came and how long I’m staying; this time, all anyone wanted to know was whether I was getting invited to the White House Hanukkah party,” said Rabbi Shemtov, who heads the Washington office of the American Friends of Lubavitch, which lobbies for the Lubavitch movement.

Rabbi Shemtov, who has attended Hanukkah parties at the White House, said he raised an eyebrow when he received his invitation, but noted that the Bush administration once sent invitations out with Christmas trees on them.

“This is all one big overblown latke,” the rabbi said.

“I feel that we need to save our communal kvetching in reserve for when it’s more called for and really matters,” he continued.

Come on everyone, get a life. stop kvetching about the size of the guest list.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree. Don't use up political capital on this. The whole evening is phony posturing anyway. Why do some Jews get so excited about goyim participating in Jewish holidays? 8 months ago there was a whole shpiel about which famous shiksas were attending Pesach seders. This could backfire if Jewish leaders are called upon to participate in Christian holidays.


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