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The Obama seder
How the first-ever presidential Passover seder fits in Obama’s big religious week
 

There’s been a lot of attention paid to President Obama’s upcoming White House Easter egg roll, because he’s setting aside tickets for gay and lesbian families, said Amy Sullivan in Time online. But Obama is also making history by becoming the first sitting U.S. president to host, or even attend, a Passover seder. As for his Christian Holy Week plans, there’s “no word yet on where the First Family will celebrate Easter,” since they’re still “church shopping.”

You’d think Jews, and “key Jewish donors,” would be pleased by this, said Tom Gross in National Review Online, especially after Obama’s big week in predominantly Muslim Turkey and Iraq. But “many in Israel fear that Obama’s Passover meal may be a stunt designed to soften up Jewish Democrats” for upcoming clashes with Israel’s new government.

According to White House sources, this “impromptu seder,” with a dozen friends and staffers, has nothing to do with politics, said Hilary Leila Kreiger in The Jerusalem Post, and everything to do with tradition. A year ago, Obama and most of the invited staff members held a seder during a campaign stop in Pennsylvania.

So he’s keeping a campaign promise, of sorts, said Carol E. Lee and Amie Parnes in Politico. After “the traditional ‘Next year in Jerusalem’ refrain” at last year’s seder, Obama added, “Next year in the White House.” The seder will have “all the Passover fixings,” but not two of Obama’s most prominent Jewish aides—Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and chief strategist David Axelrod will spend Passover with their families.

 

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