White House Chanukah
Jewish ensemble debuts original holiday song
composed for occasion.
of Zimra, the interactive
Jewish events a cappella ensem-
ble, made an encore performance
of Chanukah music at the annual White
House Menorah Lighting celebration
Monday. The 15-man ensemble, including
Avy Schreiber of Oak Park, performed for
the president, first lady and guests.
Kol Zimra debuted an original
Chanukah song "Thank You (The
"We've arranged a song that interweaves
classic Chanukah songs and themes
with a rousing American-style melody
that's meaningful and really rocks:' said
Kol Zimra Executive Producer Jordan
Gorfinkel, who co-authored the new com-
position and is the cartoonist for the IN's
Kol Zimra was founded in 1999 to perform
nationally and in Israel. Its repertoire includes
songs in Hebrew, English and Yiddish.
The group's White House performance
accompanied the ceremonial menorah
candle lighting by President Bush and the
grandsons of President Harry Truman
and David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime
minister — Clifton Truman Daniel and
The menorah that was lit in the Grand
Foyer was a gift from Ben-Gurion to
Truman in May 1951, three years after
A decade later, Truman visited Ben-
Gurion. As Bush told the story: "As they
parted, Ben-Gurion told the president
that as a foreigner, he could not judge
President Truman's place in American
history; but the president's courageous
decision to recognize the new State of
Israel gave him an
immortal place in
Avy Schreiber and Jordan Gorfinkel, posing in the East Room,
invited guests of the first family enjoyed a kosher meal
by the White House staff and supervised by Chabad of
filled the presi-
dent's eyes with
tears. And later,
said, many people wondered whether the
Ben-Gurion would say he rarely had seen
small nation could possibly survive.
somebody so moved."
"Yet from the first days of indepen-
President Bush said the story of
dence," Bush said, "the people of Israel
Chanukah recalls the miraculous vic-
defied dire predictions. With determina-
tory of a small band of patriots against
tion and hard work, they turned a rocky
tyranny and the oil that burned for eight
desert into fertile soil. They built a thriv-
nights. "Through centuries of exile and
ing democracy, a strong economy and one
persecution:' Bush said, "Jews have lit the
of the mightiest military forces on Earth.
menorah. Each year, they behold its glow
"Like the Maccabees, Israel has defend-
with faith in the power of God and love for ed itself bravely against enemies seeking
His greatest gift — freedom:'
its destruction. And today, Israel is a light
When President Truman led the world
unto the nations — and one of America's
in recognizing Israel in May of 1948, Bush
closest friends." ❑
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December 18 • 2008