By Caroline Kessler
The onset of December must mean only one thing for Jews in the Capitol, at least according to the Washington Post’s article on the annual White House Hanukkah Party. Faulting the recession, the Obama administration announced that the guest list would shrink by about half, to 400 people. This comes as quite the contrast to the Bush administration’s lavish 800-person gatherings, which has caused some Washington Jews to wrinkle their noses and question Obama’s affection for members of the tribe.
But the article tried not to harp on what appeared like typical Jewish kvetching. The article notes that while White House Hanukkah parties occurred in previous administrations, it was W. Bush who made it a go-to social event for politically savvy Washington Jews. It rapidly grew in scope and grandeur throughout the years of his presidency. In fact, in the last December he would ever serve as president, Bush left his tour of the Middle East early to attend the celebration back in Washington.
But as the Huffington Post astutely points out, at least the White House is having a party. According to their article, about 78% of Jewish voters supported Obama. That’s a lot of golden tickets to hand out, especially when you tack on the number of Jews in Congress, the embassies, and other government positions. After all, we’re in a recession, right?
Caroline Kessler, hailing from the not-so-charmed city of Baltimore, is an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University.