Full Text Obama Presidency April 5, 2012: President Barack Obama & Family’s Passover Message



A Passover Message from the Obama Family

Source: WH, 4-5-12

Starting tomorrow night, the Jewish community in the United States, Israel, and throughout the world will come together to celebrate the holiday of Passover.

President and Mrs. Obama will join them, continuing their tradition of hosting a small Seder at the White House. By now, the story of how that tradition began has been told and retold, but in the spirit of Passover, I’ll tell it again: In April of 2008, the President and his staff were on the trail in Pennsylvania in the midst of a long primary campaign. Weary from a long day of work and away from their families, a small group of staffers came together to hold an impromptu Seder. When then-Senator Obama got wind of the Seder, he gathered some other staff and friends and decided to join. At the end of the Seder, the President followed the traditional “Next year in Jerusalem” declaration with a pledge of his own – “Next year in the White House.” Each year since, he has followed through on that promise. This year, he also added a new touch, a video message to Jews everywhere wishing them Chag Sameach as they continue their own traditions or start new ones this Passover.

Source: Politico, 4-5-12

President Obama is looking forward to “a good bowl of matzo ball soup” as he celebrates Passover on Friday at the fourth-annual White House seder, the ritual feast that marks the start of the holiday.

In a web video posted Thursday, Obama offered a brief meditation on the holiday — which marks the exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt — noting that Jews have long been persecuted but have persisted with “faith that liberty will ultimately prevail over tyranny.”

Though there are some grumblings in the Jewish community that Obama has not been as good an ally for Israel as his recent predecessors, he still enjoys overwhelming support among Jewish voters. A Public Religion Research Institute poll released earlier this week found that 62 percent of American Jews say they support Obama’s reelection when he’s matched with a generic Republican. Obama won close to 80 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008.

His Passover wishes don’t explicitly discuss Israel but they do touch on the struggles Jews have faced for millenia.

“Throughout our history, there are those who have targeted the Jewish people for harm – a fact we were so painfully reminded of just a few weeks ago in Toulouse,” Obama said, referring to a March attack on a Jewish school in France. “Just as throughout history, there have been those who have sought to oppress others because of their faith, ethnicity or color of their skin.”

During Passover, Obama said, Jews “will ask one of our life’s most difficult questions: Once we have passed from bondage to liberty, how do we make the most of all that God has given us?”

Though there may never be a satisfactory answer, “the search for answers has deepened the Jewish people’s commitment to repairing the world, and inspired American Jews to help make our union more perfect,” he said. ” And the story of that first Exodus has also inspired those who are not Jewish with common hopes, and a common sense of obligation.”

Obama closed the message with a reference to his own Passover plans — a staff-led seder, a tradition that began on the 2008 campaign tail.

“This is a very special tradition – and it’s one I’m proud to be taking part of tomorrow night, at the fourth annual White House seder,” he said. “Led by Jewish members of my staff, we’ll retell the story of the Exodus, listen to our youngest guest ask the four questions, and of course, look forward to a good bowl of matzo ball soup.

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