White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel lit the National Menorah in celebration of Hanukka.
The Sunday ceremony marked the 30th anniversary of the first National Menorah lighting in 1979. President Jimmy Carter attended that ceremony.
Hanukka commemorates the rededication of the Jewish Second Temple in Jerusalem in 164 B.C. after its desecration by the Syrian-Greeks. The eight-day festival began on Friday.
Emanuel, who is Jewish, was the guest of honor at the lighting on the Ellipse in front of the White House. He stood in a cherry picker to light it in front of more than 1,000 onlookers on a cold, rainy day.