WASHINGTON – President Obama hosted a reception marking the end of Hanukkah on Thursday, and top leaders from Buffalo’s Jewish community were there to witness it.
Michael D. Wise, executive director/CEO of the Jewish Federation of Buffalo, attended the reception with his wife, Rhonda.
Steven J. Weiss, a local attorney who heads the Jewish Federation’s 2014 United Jewish Fund Campaign, attended as well, as did his wife, Ellen R. Weiss, who heads the Jewish Federation’s 2014 Women’s Philanthropy.
“It’s really profound for me that something like this is at the White House,” Wise said. “It’s wonderful that in our great country, we can celebrate religious diversity at the White House.”
The Buffalo contingent won the invitation to the White House at the request of Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, a friend of Steven Weiss.
“Brian thought we should be there to represent and raise the profile of Western New York among national leaders in Jewish philanthropy, and he called the White House to make it happen,” Weiss said.
About 500 people attended the reception, the first of two that Obama scheduled to mark Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights. The second was to take place Thursday evening.