In Photos: Presidents, Prime Ministers, Celebrities and Athletes Light Menorah Around World

December 14, 2017

4 min read

Global Jewish celebrities, from star athletes to top politicians, have lit up the social media universe with Hanukkah salutations and photos of their own menorah lightings this year, while non-Jewish friends sent out messages of celebration and holiday wishes.

First Daughter Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner

Jewish First Daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared, a senior White House adviser to President Trump, posed with their three children for a picture on the first night of Hanukkah. Their table was covered with menoras, gelt (chocolate pieces in the shape of gold coins), and a golden dreidel (a spinning top used in a popular Hanukkah game). Ivanka also posted a picture from the official White House lighting, saying, “Tonight, as we light the menorah, Jared, Arabella, Joseph, Theodore, and I wish everyone celebrating a Happy Hanukkah!”

Hebrew Roots Basketball Star Amar’e Stoudemire

Former NBA star for the New York Knicks and co-owner of Hapoel Jerusalem Amar’e Stoudemire lit the ceremonial Knicks scoreboard menorah on the first night of Hanukkah. Stoudemire, who has a very strong connection to Judaism and Israel, lived in Jerusalem for a year and identifies with the Hebrew Israelite movement.

Senator Chuck Schumer

Jewish Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer tweeted a photo of the menorah from his office in Washington, wishing everyone a Happy Hanukkah.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Jakub Morawiecki

The head of Polish Parliament lights the Hanukkah menorah on December 12, 2017. (Wojtek Szalek)

On the first night of Hanukkah, the Polish Sejm (Parliament) swore in its new Prime Minister Mateusz Jakub Morawiecki, and on the same evening, held a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony. At the inauguration, Morawiecki stated, “This profound communal ritual is intertwined with our country’s legacy of aiding the oppressed and pursued. The wartime activities of the Żegota, the Polish Council to Aid Jews, like our Solidarity party, are testimony and symbol to the meaning of Polish character, to the meaning of community.”

Rahm Emanuel

Jewish mayor of Chicago and former chief of staff to former president Barack Obama tweeted a picture of himself lighting the first candle with children from Chicago’s Jewish United Fund.

Mayim Bialik

Mayim Bialik, a modern Orthodox actress, posted an Instagram picture of a lit menorah from the set of The Big Bang Theory, along with other Jewish crew members.

Many other Jewish and non-Jewish celebrities posted in honor of the eight-day Festival of Lights as well, sending out messages of celebration and solidarity.

Omri Caspi

Omri Caspi, an Israeli basketball player for the Golden State Warriors, tweeted a special Hanukkah video shout out.

Isla Fisher

This is my latka frying outfit ????

A post shared by Isla Fisher (@islafisher) on

Actress and convert to Judaism Isla Fisher posted an Instagram photo of herself in a checkered dress with a “Happy Hanukkah” message, saying, “This is my latka frying outfit.” Fisher married Jewish comedian Sasha Baron Cohen in 2010.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan

London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted a picture of himself with the famous Jewish American a cappella group, the Maccabeats, after their Hanukkah performance in Trafalgar Square. He commented on how “great” it was to have the group there to celebrate Hanukkah and acknowledged “the huge contribution the Jewish community makes to our city.”

US President Donald Trump

President Trump tweeted “Wishing all of those celebrating #Hanukkah around the world a happy and healthy eight nights in the company of those they love.”

Former President Barack Obama

Former US president Barack Obama tweeted on the first night,  “Happy Hanukkah, everybody, from the Obama family to yours. Chag Sameach!”

Former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton

Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton tweeted, “Happy Hanukkah to everyone celebrating & lighting candles this evening!” Shortly after, VICE reporter Harry Cheadle teased her, saying, “She’s running.” Clinton replied, “Or… I am on my way home to light candles with my family. Happy Hanukkah!”

The US Senate

Hours before the first Hanukkah candle lighting, the Senate unanimously passed the Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act, which helps Holocaust survivors and their families obtain restitution or the return of Nazi-confiscated assets. The bill, introduced by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), is now pending approval by the House of Representatives. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer posted in a statement on his website saying, “Passing this bill makes eminent sense and was the right thing to do, especially on this night because the memories of those who perished in the Holocaust will always shine brightly like Hanukkah candles.”

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