November 26, 2002
I am pleased to send greetings to everyone celebrating Hanukkah, the festival
For eight days and nights, Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Holy
Temple in Jerusalem and the ancient story of Israel's courageous faith. In a
victorious struggle against their oppressors, the Maccabees heroically overcame
enormous odds to liberate the ancient kingdom of Israel. Hanukkah reminds us
that faith can give us the strength to overcome oppression. Today, the spirit
of the Maccabees continues to live and thrive among the Jewish people and in
the State of Israel.
During the eight days of Hanukkah, Jews throughout the world gather with family
and friends to rejoice and celebrate. Each night, they light a branch of the
menorah to commemorate the miracle of the lamp that, with only enough oil for
one day, burned in the ancient Temple for eight days. The festival of lights
culminates on the eighth night when all the candles burn in unity, symbolizing
the eternal light of the Temple and the long-standing struggle of the Jewish
people against adversity.
Americans join in thanking God for our blessings and renew our commitment to
the values of faith, family, and community that make us strong. The candles
of Hanukkah remind us that in the face of darkness, goodness will prevail.
Laura joins me in sending our best wishes for a joyous Hanukkah.