Presidents routinely wish American Jews a "Happy Chanukah". But there is a subtle, but important difference between Obama and Trump's Chanukah messages.
Here's the first paragraph of Obama's message.
“This Hanukkah season we remember the powerful story of the Maccabees who rose up to liberate their people from oppression. Upon discovering the desecration of their Temple, the believers found only enough oil to light the lamp for one night. And yet it lasted for eight."
Here's the similar paragraph in Trump's message.
"The miracle of Hanukkah began more than 2,000 years ago, when the practice of Judaism was made punishable by death. A small band of Jewish patriots rose up and reclaimed their Jewish identity by vanquishing a mighty army. In their pursuit to rededicate their holy temple, the Jewish heroes found only enough oil to light the temples menorah for one night. However, a miracle occurred and with God's grace the oil lasted for eight days."
The story is the same. But where Obama mentions a general "oppression", Trump specifically discusses religious freedom.
The Obama version fits neatly into a generic leftist paradigm. Trump rightly invokes patriotism and religious freedom. Trump's mentions G-d. Obama's does not.
Here's Obama again offering generic universalist leftist sentiments about a "better" world and remaining mindful. Chanukah isn't really about the Jews. It's another occasion to mouth leftist platitudes.
“Hanukkah is a time to celebrate the faith and customs of the Jewish people, but it is also an opportunity for people of all faiths to recognize the common aspirations we share. This holiday season, let us give thanks for the blessings we enjoy, and remain mindful of those who are suffering. And let us reaffirm our commitment to building a better, more complete world for all."
And here's Trump's message.
"On this holiday, we are proud to stand with the Jewish people who shine as a light to all nations. We also stand with the people of Israel, the Jewish State, which has itself a miraculous history of overcoming the tallest of odds. We hope that those observing the holiday here, in Israel, and around the world have a wonderful holiday."
Trump specifically mentions Israel. And standing with Israel. And linking the Maccabees to Israel.
It's a sharp contrast to Obama's Chanukah message which kept a careful distance from Judaism and Israel. And which reduced the message of Chanukah to another round of standing with the oppressed. While Trump's Chanukah message calls for solidarity with the Jewish people and for religious freedom.