BY AL SHAMS / AJT //

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and his wife Sandra graciously extended an invitation to approximately 120 members of the Jewish community to observe the third day of Chanukah at the Governor’s mansion. My wife Amanda and I were fortunate enough to attend.

Linda Selig (L-R), Gov. Deal, Sandra Deal and Steve Selig at Chanukah party earlier this week.

Guests were able to tour portions of the mansion and view both Christmas and Chanukah decorations. Traditional and non-traditional Chanukah treats were served, including latkes and doughnuts, in addition to lox, both fresh and dried fruit and chopped liver.

Chuck Berk, Chairman of the Jewish Republican Party of Georgia, acted as spokesman and helped to coordinate planning. Invitees included Sam Massell, Elliot Arnovitz, Steve Selig, Sam Olens, Chuck Berk, Tom Glaser, Ken Stein and Opher Aviran.

Prior to the Governor’s comments, Mrs. Deal, in her warm and gracious manner, welcomed all to the mansion and extended her holiday greetings. She said she was happy to host this event and invited the guests to visit the mansion throughout the year.

The Governor spoke of the close cultural, economic and humanitarian ties that exist between Georgia and Israel. He cited the mutually beneficial relationships that exist between the two governments, and that the State is supportive of Israel during its time of need.

It is fair to say that Georgia, for its size, enjoys a disproportionally favorable relationship with Israel. This relationship didn’t just happen; it is the result of astute leadership, great insight and hard work on both sides.

As candles were lit, it was mentioned that, in a larger sense, the Chanukah celebration represents a triumph of freedom over tyranny, hope over despair and a world with opportunities and respect for all.