The miracle of Hanukka is that it allows light to overcome darkness and hope to emerge from the gloom of tragedy, US President George W. Bush declared at the start of the seventh day of Hanukka.
To supply that light Monday night, Ruth and Judea Pearl, parents of slain journalist Daniel Pearl, stood beside Bush and kindled an oil menora that once belonged to their son's great-grandfather.
Pearl, a Wall Street Journal correspondent, was murdered by Islamic terrorists while on assignment in Pakistan in 2002.
Bush quoted Pearl's last words - "My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, and I'm Jewish" - in keeping with Hanukka's message of freedom of faith and liberty from oppression.
"The forces of intolerance can suppress the menora - but they can never extinguish its light," Bush said.
Bush met with the Pearls, as well as Jewish immigrants to the US and Israel who had once faced persecution because of their beliefs, ahead of the traditional White House Hanukka celebration.
The menora-lighting and recitation of the traditional blessings were followed by a rendition of two songs by the Zamir Chorale, which described the pieces as a song for peace followed by a song for celebration.
The Hebrew singing filled the Grand Foyer of the White House, decked in gold Christmas decorations and outfitted with eight Christmas trees bearing imitation snow and wire butterflies.
Where others face religious persecution, Bush said, America "is a beacon of freedom" where those who have found refuge "see a day of hope on the horizon when people all across the world will worship in freedom."
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