President Trump is hosting his first White House Hanukkah reception on Thursday, keeping up with a tradition dating back to the George W. Bush presidency and kept by Barack Obama.
There will be some major differences, however.
First, the party, which ballooned in recent years into a massive event requiring two separate rounds of menorah lighting to accommodate all the invitees, will shrink back to its original size, with only one reception.
Another difference - the Democrats aren’t invited.
According to congressional sources who surveyed Jewish politicians, it appears that no Democratic Jewish lawmakers were invited to Trump’s Hanukkah party. Neither were liberal Jewish leaders such as Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism. Instead, there will be more invitees from Jewish circles supportive of Trump.
While Jewish Democratic politicians, friends and donors packed Obama’s Hanukkah parties, the former president did make a point of inviting Republican and conservative Jewish leaders.
There are currently 30 Jewish members of Congress — 28 of them Democrats, including some of Trump’s harshest critics, like Sens. Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders and Rep. Adam Schiff.
No Democrats At Trump White House Hanukkah Party
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, was the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.