Hanukkah at the White House
Among the gifts from heads of state that are in the holdings of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum is a menorah presented to President Truman by Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion. The menorah dates back to at least 1767, when it was donated to a synagogue in Buergel, Germany.
The menorah was used in the synagogue until 1913, when it was found broken in pieces. A man by the name of Siegfried Guggenheim asked for the broken pieces and provided a replacement. The Guggenheim family restored the old menorah for their personal use, and brought it to the United States when they immigrated in the 1930s. Eventually, the menorah was acquired by the Jewish Museum in New York.
When Prime Minister Ben-Gurion visited the United States in 1951, he searched for a suitable gift to give to Harry S. Truman in light of the President’s recognition and support of the State of Israel. The Jewish Museum suggested the menorah, and Prime Minister Ben-Gurion presented it to Truman on his birthday, May 8, 1951. Read More
Photos: Menorah presented to Harry S. Truman by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and Ambassador to the U.S. Abba Eban, of Isreal on May 8, 1951. The menorah is currently on Display at the Truman Library.
This menorah was given to former President Truman by the Chicago Committee for State of Israel Bonds. Truman received many honors from numerous Jewish organizations as a result of his decision to recognize the state of Israel in 1948.
The silver plate on the front of this menorah is engraved “In Warm Tribute to Hon. Harry S. Truman for Carrying Aloft the Torch of Freedom. Presented November 28, 1953, Chicago Committee for State of Israel Bonds.”
-from the Truman Library