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Reflecting on Hanukkah, Obama says one act of faith can make miracles if individuals step up

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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says Hanukkah teaches that one act of faith can make a miracle.

Obama reflected on Hanukkah's meaning Wednesday during a White House reception marking the second day of the eight-day Jewish holiday also known as the Festival of Lights.

PHOTO: President Barack Obama, right, and first lady Michelle Obama, center, watch as Dr. Adam Levine, left and Ataklit Tesfaye, light a Menorah during a Hanukkah reception Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in the Grand Foyer of the White House. Reciting the Hanukkah blessing is Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, second from right. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama, right, and first lady Michelle Obama, center, watch as Dr. Adam Levine, left and Ataklit Tesfaye, light a Menorah during a Hanukkah reception Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in the Grand Foyer of the White House. Reciting the Hanukkah blessing is Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, second from right. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama said the light of hope must outlast the fires of hate. With faith, he said, one's light can shine brighter than anyone could imagine, but it's up to individuals to spark the fire.

Obama tied the themes of Hanukkah to the return of Alan Gross, a Jewish-American released by Cuba after five years in captivity. Obama said that in prison, Gross never gave up.

For the first time, the president's annual Hanukkah bash was split into two to accommodate more guests. An afternoon session on the State Floor of the White House was followed by an evening party, where guests mingled with lawmakers and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

"Let's commit ourselves to making new miracles, and to sharing them with the world," Obama said at the evening event.

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