President Trump has opted out of a few presidential traditions this year. The White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Kennedy Center Honors, and most recently, meeting with Nobel Prize winners. There is one tradition he plans to carry on this year, and thanks to Ivanka Trump, it will be historic.
The White House has hosted a Hanukkah party for the last 15 years. Former President George W. Bush began the tradition back in 2001. However, the 2017 celebration will be more notable than prior years for one reason- Ivanka’s faith.
In the 228 years since George Washington became the first United States president, there has never been a Jewish member of the first family. What role Ivanka might play in the Hanukkah celebration is not yet public but will likely be significant.
The first daughter converted to Judaism after marrying her husband, Jared Kushner, in 2009. They serve as senior advisers to President Trump and parent three children. Ivanka opened up about her faith recently, discussing how important it is to her young family.
Faith and Family
“I always shied away from it being a public conversation because it’s such a personal thing… We’re pretty observant, more than some, less than others,” Ivanka said. “It’s been such a great life decision for me. I am very modern, but I’m also a very traditional person, and I think that’s an interesting juxtaposition in how I was raised as well.”
Her Jewish faith took center stage earlier this year when she posted pictures of herself with her children, Arabella and Joseph. They were baking hamentashen for the annual Purim festival. Her faith became apparent again when she condemned anti-Semitic vandalism at Jewish cemeteries.
According to the Times of Israel, this year’s Hanukkah party will be held on December 7. Per Maggie Haberman of The New York Times, the White House is already extending invitations to the event. The guest list includes leaders of American Jewish organizations, Jewish members Congress, and Trump’s cabinet.
Traditionally, the president takes part in the Hanukkah menorah-lighting ceremony. It’s also customary to give remarks commemorating the event. Hanukkah begins this year on December 12 and ends on December 20.