Few may recall the origins of the Save America's Treasures program of the National Park Service. On the eve of the new millennium, then First Lady Hillary Clinton initiated a partnership between the White House Millennium Council and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to preserve historic resources. On December 10, 1998, Clinton visited the Breed Street Shul in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles and declared it the first official Save America's Treasures project in California. Later that same day, she did the same for the Broadway Theater and Commercial District.
In 1999, the White House planned a very special Christmas celebration and asked partners from across the nation to share their creative impressions of the best of our heritage. The Jewish Historical Society of Southern California (JHS) chose not to customize a Christmas ornament, as was the tradition, and rather commissioned Beverly Hills artist Marlene Zimmerman to create a menorah for the event. The menorah was lit by the Clintons with JHS president Steve Sass in the West Wing of the White House.