• Barack and Michelle Obama released a Hanukkah message in English and Hebrew, saying in part, “May Hanukkah’s lessons inspire us all to give thanks for the blessings we enjoy, to find light in times of darkness, and to work together for a brighter, more hopeful tomorrow.” [CBSNews]
• On a trip to Iraq, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates predicted the United States would pass tougher sanctions on Iran regarding that country’s nuclear program. He is likely the most senior U.S. official to assert such a move is likely. [NYT]
• Meanwhile, Iran and Syria inked a new defense cooperation pact in Damascus. [Haaretz]
• Text/Context: Fresh Encounters With Jewish Tradition, a monthly literary supplement published jointly by New York Jewish Week and Nextbook (Tablet Magazine’s parent), debuted this week. [New York Jewish Week]
• Tweet your prayer into the Western Wall. [The Kotel Guy]
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.