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Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Delivers Remarks at the National Chanukah Menorah Lighting


Washington, DC
United States

Thank you, Rabbi. And hello, everyone.

I am so happy to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah with all of you here in our nation’s capital.

As the Rabbi said, it's my great honor to lead the United States Department of Justice.

I am proud to serve alongside the 115,000 extraordinary professionals in the Justice Department who work every single day to fulfill its mission. That mission is to uphold the rule of law, to keep our country safe, and to protect the civil rights of everyone in this country.  

Each of us at the Justice Department has different reasons why we decided to work there.

For me, I wanted to repay the debt my family owes to this country for our very lives.

Before World War I, America gave my family a refuge from persecution that allowed them to survive the Holocaust when World War II arrived.

My grandmother was one of five children born in what is now Belarus. Three made it to the United States, including my grandmother.

Two did not make it. Those two were killed in the Holocaust.

If not for America, there is little doubt that the same would have happened to my grandmother.

But this country took her in. And under the protection of our laws, she was able to live without fear of persecution.

That protection is what distinguishes America from so many other countries. The protection of law – the Rule of Law – is the foundation of our system of government.

As Attorney General, I will never stop working to guarantee that protection to everyone in our country.

All of us at the Department of Justice will never stop working to confront and combat violence and other unlawful acts fueled by hate. That is our legal obligation.

But now more than ever, all Americans have a moral obligation to stand up against such hate. Together, we must stand up against the disturbing rise in antisemitism. And together, we must stand up against bigotry in any of its forms. Our democracy depends on it.

As a descendant of those who fled persecution because they were Jewish, it is especially meaningful to be here tonight as we light this menorah – in our nation’s capital, and under the protection of its laws.

May we never stop working to ensure that Americans will always be able gather today as we are doing tonight – to light the menorah.

​Thank you, and Happy Hanukkah!

Updated December 19, 2022