Beliefnet News

Beliefnet News


Obama Invites Friends, Aides to Seder Dinner

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama is inviting close friends and staff to a private White House meal Thursday to mark Passover, part of the new president’s effort to reach out to Jewish voters.
Among the invited is Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama’s closest advisers, and family friend Eric Whitaker, who is visiting from Chicago and attended a seder last year with the campaign. First lady Michelle Obama and the family’s two daughters also plan to attend.
The staff guest list includes aides from the campaign trail who marked last year’s Passover at the Sheraton hotel in Harrisburg, Pa. Obama’s personal aide, Reggie Love; Michelle Obama’s deputy chief of staff, Melissa Winter; personal aide Dana Lewis and associate social secretary Samantha Tubman all received invitations.
Also on the guest list are Eric Lesser, a personal aide to senior adviser David Axelrod, and his family. Lesser worked during the New Hampshire primary and later handled baggage for traveling reporters. White House videographer Arun Chaudhary – a constant presence on the trail – landed invitations for his family.
Others in the exclusive group include Michelle Obama’s counsel and friend Susan Sher; Herbie Ziskend, a staff assistant to Vice President Joe Biden’s policy and economic advisers; and White House deputy director of advance and special events Lisa Kohnke.
Two of the administration’s highest-profile members of the Jewish faith will miss the dinner. Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel doesn’t plan to attend and Axelrod expects to be in Chicago with his family.
The White House says the seder meal will be traditional, including matzo, bitter herbs, a roasted egg and greens in the family dining room in the executive mansion. The evening will feature the reading of the Haggadah, the religious text of the holiday.
Passover began at sundown Wednesday. It celebrates the Jewish exodus from Egypt after 400 years of slavery.
White House aides say they believe this is the first president-hosted seder at the White House. President Bill Clinton’s aides planned seders, but Clinton isn’t known to have attended.
Obama’s move won quick praise from the National Jewish Democratic Council.
“By hosting the first presidential seder in America’s history, President Barack Obama shows the personal and deep relationship he has with the Jewish community,” said Alexis C. Rice, the group’s deputy executive director.
Associated Press – April 9, 2009
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



  • JohnQ

    How can Obama be hosting a second night Seder? I thought they said he was a Muslim.
    On top of this, the White House is inviting gay/lesbian families to the annual Easter Egg Hunt. What next, gay marriage?
    Actually, I am just kidding…..I think that this is indeed change we can believe in!
    Happy Pasch!

  • jestrfyl

    L’Chaim, y’all!!

  • nnmns

    Find by me.

  • pagansister

    As I continue to say…what a wonderful change in the White House brought on by the new President and family. He continues to prove he is everyone’s President, this being just one of many ways of showing it.

  • gzuckier

    michelle’s cousin is a rabbi, after all

  • Henrietta22

    We had a Jewish Seder at our church once, everything was good, but the herbs were too bitter!

  • Bob

    “He continues to prove he is everyone’s President”
    But while he does his best to accommodate the Jewish community (and I agree, it’s admirable), he simultaneously bends over backwards to offend the Catholic community. Here are two examples from just this week:
    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=15636
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2226077/posts

  • nnmns

    Bob apparently the RCC or at least some who write for/about it want to be able to take away peoples’ rights and not have them complain about it. That’s my take on your first article above. As for the second one, I want our ambassador to the Vatican to represent our interests, not it’s (actually I don’t want us to have an ambassador to the Vatican because the Vatican is really a “country” that’s there in aid of a religion. That seems to always be a bad idea.
    So anyway some RCs and their leaders need to get over themselves. They should not expect to control every committee they join, even who gets to serve on it, and they shouldn’t expect to control who we send to represent us there.
    Then of course all this is suspect since RC leaders (happily unlike many RCs) seem to take every opportunity to bash President Obama over his support of American women and families and their rights to get abortions when they need them, and the ongoing efforts on the part of the foreign religious leaders to take these rights away from Americans in America. I imagine lots of Catholics are as happy as anyone that those efforts are being thwarted.

  • nnmns

    Oh, and Bob do yourself a big favor and don’t spend much time at sites like those. They will drive you nuts. And there’s so very much you won’t learn there that’s important.

  • nnmns

    But since you brought up the RCC, here’s an article about decades of priests abusing kids in institutions run by the RCC for the state (which illustrates yet again why church-state separation is a wonderful thing).
    Hopefully the topic of this article will show up here soon for us to chew over. And in how many more countries do you suppose the RCC was creating opportunities for pedophile priests to safely abuse children entrusted to them?

  • nnmns

    Geez Bob I keep thinking I’m through responding to your post but I keep running into pertinent things. Here’s a column by Newt Gingrich’s sister about Harry Knox, whom the hack at your first URL slanders. It seems he’s a very accomplished and decent person.
    You should really think about not going back to sites that slander people like him.

  • nnmns

    Whoops, I notice I notice I didn’t mention in my second-up post all that child abuse by priests was in Ireland. That’s the “state” that paid the RCC to run those institutions where it happened.

  • Henrietta22

    The President probably picked his board with leading men from all religious beliefs in hope they would learn how to understand each other. Rev. Harry Knox told the truth, the truth sometimes hurts.
    Three rejects for an Ambassador to the Vatican because they don’t fit their requirement about rejecting all abortion. Have we checked out what their ambassador to the U.S. believes, maybe we should reject that person, too.

  • pagansister

    Bob, couldn’t get your first article, but did get the second one.
    Maybe this administration should just forget an Ambassador to the Vatican. Apparently no one is good enough…and Benny can’t accept someone who thinks a little differently on things…and I know that it is all about abortion, but certainly there must be other things that need discussing when one is the Ambassador to the RCC’s headquarters.

  • JohnQ

    Bob-
    ….he (Obama) simultaneously bends over backwards to offend the Catholic community.
    I did read both the articles from your links. And while it seems obvious that some Catholics from the Pope down are not happy with Obama’s actions…..I see nothing that seems to indicate that Pres Obama is deliberately trying to offend anyone.
    Peace!

  • nnmns

    “.I see nothing that seems to indicate that Pres Obama is deliberately trying to offend anyone.”
    He is not stupid and he’s not divisive (unlike GWRove) so it’s just a silly idea that he’d try at all to offend the Catholic community. And I don’t see evidence that he has, but clearly some in that community have their knickers in a twist because he hasn’t leaned over backwards to appease them. Spoiled is what I’d call those few.
    And of course there are haters who take any opportunity to bit President Obama’s ankle for any reason or non-reason at all.

  • nnmns

    A couple of religious-related articles I just came across, fyi:
    Rick Warren cancelled an appearance on This Week where he’d have to explain having said he never endorsed the anti-gay Proposition 8 in California when actually he endorsed it in a vidio
    and
    James Dobson conceded the culture war is going very badly* for their side.
    Interesting times in the Evangelical community.

  • JohnQ

    nnmns-
    Thanks for the links. Both articles are indeed interesting.
    As a Christian, I endeavor to follow the Biblical teaching not to judge. So, I will simply say that I agree with Dr. Dobson when he said: “We are awash in evil,”. I do know why Focus on the Family and other similar groups that attempt to impose their rules on all the rest of us are: “awash in evil” but, I will take them at their word.
    I am sure for some, it is a difficult choice between looking to Pres Obama or the James Dobsons for leadership. For me, it is obvious.
    Peace!

Previous Posts

Hispanics turning evangelical, Jews secular
Worship service attendance is up in New York City, but down among young adult Jews, according to recent studies. On the other hand, fewer Spanish-speaking teens are attending Catholic mass, but more are showing up at Evangelical churches. [caption id="attachment_12343" align="alignleft" width="48

posted 3:10:30pm Nov. 05, 2013 | read full post »

Billy Graham: I know where I'm going
“Daddy thinks the Lord will allow him to live to 95,” said Franklin Graham recently. It was not a prophecy but a hope, Franklin explained, that he would live to see the beginning of a Christian re

posted 10:02:01am Oct. 24, 2013 | read full post »

Are All These Christians' Complaints of Persecution Just So Much Empty Whining?
The headlines are alarming: “Catholic-Owned Company Wins Religious Freedom Court Decision,” “Death Toll Rises to 65 in Boko Haram Attack on Students,” “Little Sisters Catholic Charity Victimized By Obamacare,” “Christians Sought Out, Murdered in the Kenyan Mall Massacre,” “Judicial

posted 2:41:26am Oct. 07, 2013 | read full post »

How can Christians defend themselves against today's random violence?
So, a crazed gunman opens fire and you’re caught in the middle. How can you survive? Heroes come in all sorts of packages. And they wield all sorts of defensive weapons. Such as guns and Jesus. Sometimes both at the same time. [caption id="attachment_12246" align="alignleft" width="480"] Ant

posted 2:53:48pm Sep. 27, 2013 | read full post »

Does Sunday Morning Church Really Need All This Glitter, Showmanship and Gimmickry?
What’s wrong with church today? Are we in danger of turning worship into a flashy concert? Of watering down the message so nobody is offended? Of forgetting the simplicity of the Gospel? I grew up with a preacher’s kid. He was a fake following in the footsteps of his flimflamming father who d

posted 11:26:20am Sep. 20, 2013 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.