Thursday, December 18, 2008

Moved to Tears: "Am Yisroyel Chai" in the White House

Time to flip over all the cards about the crowning event of the White House Chanuka party. I've got lots more observations, but I want to share with you something that brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart.

My son and I watched with pleasure as the Marines Orchestra performed specially-prepared Chanuka medleys, all the traditional songs. They also roused us with a clip-clop, neeeeigh! version of Sleigh Ride, as well as several classical selections. At the end of the evening, as the uniformed Marines who were the White House hosts herded attendees toward the exits, the orchestra concluded with some lively Jewish music that started women dancing the hora in a circle. Traditionally, men and women dance separately, at weddings sometimes so frenetically that the entire room smells of Eau de Perspiration and revelers are wiping their wet countenances with startched cloth napkins.

As the women danced joyously, they were overtaken by the men, led by, among others, my son. The music reached its crescendo and applause...but then the men took over, singing and dancing words that touched me, right there in the White House: "Am Yisroyal chai!" "L'Shana ha ba Yerusalayim!" The Jewish people LIVE! Next year in Jerusalem! The simcha (joy) with the women clapping time and the men jumping and whirling reminded me just how blessed we are in America, the land founded on ideas, primary among which is love and closeness to God. Here's my little video of the beginning of the dancing...


  1. I remember how proud my parents were when I was chosen to dance the hora in our public school's annual "Christmas" program back in the early 1970's. (Is this a great country or what?) We lived in a suburb of Dallas that was not only Christian but predominantly protestant. Yet, respect and wishes for "peace to all men of good will" extended to those who sought to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with their God.

    P.S. I've seen Danny break dance, but his joy here was even more sincere.

  2. Bush killed over a million people. Dance away...

  3. Thanks for sharing your experience, I enjoyed it immensely.

    Jim, what a sad little man you are. Go where the indecent go, it's where you belong.

  4. Attaway... Are you disputing the internationally accepted fatality figures, or do you just want me to shut up? Don't you think this is important? I do.