Meryl Frank of Highland Park didn’t give her mother, Rosalie Frank of Ocean, the usual sweater or gift certificate for Hanukka.
Rather, she took her as her guest to the Dec. 16 White House Hanukka party hosted by President Barack and Michelle Obama, where she mingled with hundreds of other dignitaries and luminaries of the Jewish community.
“My daughter sure does know a lot of important people,” said Rosalie in a phone interview with NJJN the next day. “It was so thrilling to be acknowledged as Jews by the president. He kissed me and so did Michelle and so did Joe Biden.”
Rosalie also was impressed with the menoras and the Christmas displays adorning the White House.
Meryl Frank, who left office Jan. 5 as Highland Park mayor, was appointed by Obama as the United States representative to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
“There was a military band playing klezmer music,” said Meryl. “We had wonderful kosher lamb chops and latkes. The evening was wonderful. Children from a local Jewish day school sang. Other children whose fathers were serving overseas in the military lit the menora.”
Long active in Democratic and Jewish causes, Frank served on the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County until her UN appointment.
She said she chose to take her mother, rather than her husband, as her guest because “the greatest Hanukka gift I could give my mom was a visit to the White House. It was a beautiful night to celebrate Hanukka.”