White House Hanukkah Celebration

President Barack Obama hosted Israeli President Reuven Rivlin Wednesday evening for a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony, one of two official parties for the festival being held this year at the White House.

The first of two menorahs used in the candle lighting ceremonies, lit by President Rivlin, came from the North Carolina Museum of Art’s Judaic Art Gallery.

"The menorah was made in Israel during the 1920s by a pioneer designer, Ze’ev Raban, who trained in Europe and blended European, Jewish and Palestinian Arab design elements to create a new aesthetic for Jewish art in what would become the State of Israel," according to the White House blog.

The second menorah will be lit at an evening reception by holocaust survivor Manfred Lindenbaum. Lindenbaum escaped to England with his brother via the Kindertransport after being deported to Poland from Germany during World War II, the White House said.    

The menorah chosen for the second ceremony was made by Holocaust survivor Erwin Theiberger, who fashioned the sacred candelabrum's from cement nails and solder while imprisoned in one of the sub-camps of Auschwitz. 

After WWII, Theiberger settled in the Washington, D.C., area as a refugee to the U.S. and continued to make menorah's from materials similar to those made during the war. 

"Thieberger was dedicated to creating a living reminder to the spirit of Hanukkah and the Jews’ continual fight for freedom and survival," the White House said.

The second Hanakkah candle-lighting ceremony is expected to begin at 7:35 p.m. ET.

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