Saturday, April 16, 2011

President Obama's Passover Message

UPDATE, April 18: The full 2011 Seder details ARE HERE. The White House also released a collection of healthy recipes for Passover.
President Obama will host a Seder at the White House on Monday, April 18, the first night of Passover. In a holiday greeting for Passover from the First Family, the President wished Jews around the globe Chag Sameach, and noted that "we continue to pray for peace between Israel and her neighbors, while reaffirming our enduring commitment to Israel's security."

The President has held a number of working dinners and lunches to discuss the Middle East peace process; most recently, on April 5th, he welcomed Israeli President Shimon Peres to the White House for a private working lunch. Monday's Seder is the President's third at the White House and guests are expected to include family friends and White House staff and their family members. (Above: The President and guests at the 2009 Seder)

The President's Passover message:

My family and I send our warmest wishes to all those celebrating the sacred festival of Passover.
On Monday evening, Jewish families and their friends in America, Israel, and around the world will gather around the Seder table and retell the story of the Exodus, one of the most powerful stories of suffering and redemption in history.

The story of Passover - which recalls the passage of the children of Israel from bondage and repression to freedom and liberty - inspires hope that those oppressed and enslaved can become free. The Seder, with its rich traditions and rituals, instructs each generation to remember its past, while appreciating the beauty of freedom and the responsibility it entails.

This year, that ancient instruction is reflected in the daily headlines as we see modern stories of social transformation and liberation unfolding in the Middle East and North Africa. Against the backdrop of change, we continue to pray for peace between Israel and her neighbors, while reaffirming our enduring commitment to Israel's security.

As Jewish families gather for this joyous celebration of freedom, let us all be thankful for the gifts that have been bestowed upon us, and let us work to alleviate the suffering, poverty, injustice, and hunger of those who are not yet free. Chag Sameach.

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Download the President's Passover message here [PDF].

The largest peace dinner President Obama has hosted was in September of 2010, when he welcomed King Abdullah II of Jordan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, Tony Blair, the international Middle East envoy and former British Prime Minister, and President Hosni Mubarek of Egypt to the White House, in advance of a meeting for Middle East peace talks at the State Department, which were intended to resolve all final status issues. Discussions subsequently broke down in the months after.

Related: The 2010 Passover Seder is recapped HERE; posts about the 2009 Passover Seder ARE HERE and HERE.

*Photo by Pete Souza/White House