Obama White House Hanukkah Party: Kosher sushi, latkes, "Rock of Ages" sax solo
WASHINGTON--In a room heavily decorated for Christmas, President Obama and First Lady Michelle hosted a Hanukkah Party on the second night of the Jewish festival.
There was a heavy contingent of Chicagoans spotted in the East Room event, packed with about 500 people, including Rabbi Capers C. Funnye, Jr. who is Mrs. Obama's cousin. Funnye is the rabbi of Beth Shalom B'nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation at 6601 S. Kedzie in Chicago.
Funnye told me this was his third White House Hanukkah party--not only last year with cousin Michelle--the Bush White House invited him in 2007.
Among the other Chicagoans at the party: Jane Ramsey, Judy Gold, Marcia Balonick, state Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, Neil Bluhm, Alan Solow and Jon Medline.
Among the others present: the three Jewish Supreme Court justices: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan.
Unlike last year, there was a photo line with the president, who greeted his guests with Mrs. Obama for remarks and a menorah lighting. Quipped Obama, who was elbowed last weekend in a basketball game and required stitches, "Yes, they will be able to photo shop my lip for the picture.
Saxophonist Joshua Redman played a poignant "Rock of Ages," a traditional Hanukkah song and the Marine Band in the foyer was playing a medley of Hanukkah tunes.
In addition to a lavish spread of small lamb chops and sushi--everything was glatt kosher--waiters passed trays of small latkes.