As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Obama Holds a White House Seder

The president got his matza on with another White House seder tonight. They read the story of Passover, which details how the Jews escaped Egypt while the Pharoah was busy playing golf.

Reportedly, Obama told God during tonight’s dinner that if he could part the Red Sea, it should be no problem for God to eliminate America’s Red Ink. At which point a burning sprig of parsley appeared on the table and said:


And Obama said.

“Here I am.”

And the burning parsley said:

“Create a plan to reform entitlements, and get out of my hair.”

And Obama said:

“Get me the fourth glass of wine.”

Anyway, here’s the rundown from the White House. The traditional Jewish fare works well for the Obama White House because all of it is fattening. It’s all the stuff my grandma Minnie used to make on a regular basis. And she and her relatives all lived into their 80s, and some further, and looked pretty good doing it, even though no one was hectoring them to “Let’s Move.” They moved from the sofa to the chair.

How the White House Seder came to be:

In 2008 on the campaign trail, after a long day on train through PA, POTUS and staff ended up in Harrisburg.  It was late in the evening and they had an impromptu Passover Seder at POTUS’ insistence, including Jewish and non-Jewish staffers.  Each year since, President and Mrs. Obama have hosted a Seder at the White House including those who were there, plus others staffers and family.

Details for this year:

We will again use the Maxwell House Haggadah.  It will be not strictly kosher but kosher style.  The White House kitchen is doing most of the cooking.  Much of the menu comes from family recipes provided by the staff.  Among those family recipes: chicken soup with matzoh balls, braised beef brisket, potato kugel, carrot soufflé, and matzoh chocolate cake.

Attendees will include the following people and a couple of their family members:

President Obama; Michelle, Malia; Sasha; Danielle Borrin, Associate Director, Office of Public Engagement; Arun Chaudhary, White House Videographer; Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President;  Lisa Kohnke, Deputy Director of Special Events for the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs; Eric Lesser, Director of Strategic Planning, White House Council of Economic Advisers;  Reggie Love, Personal Aide to the President; Cookie Offerman, Deputy Associate Director, Office of the Social Secretary;  Jen Psaki, Deputy White House Communications Director; Samantha Tubman, Deputy Associate Director, Office of the Social Secretary;  Dr. Eric Whitaker;  Melissa Winter, Deputy Chief of Staff to the First Lady; Herbie Ziskend, Policy Analyst, Office of the Vice President.

20 Responses to Obama Holds a White House Seder

  1. Who knew ReggieLove was Jewish?
    Kosher style? I thought it was either Kosher or not.
    Maybe “kosher style” is when the chef sprinkles kosher salt over everything.

    • I couldn’t be really kosher because you’d have to have special dishes, one for dairy and another for meat, and maybe a third set for special occassions.There’s lots of rules for eating kosher. My husband grew up in a kosher house, but I didn’t although we had seders at my grandmothers. When he went into the army he almost starved to death. He had never tasted ham.

      • We kept kosher in our house. I thought it was pretty strict until I was at my BFF’s house and accidentally put a a dish where it didn’t belong. Her mother snatched up the dish (one of her bestest china dishes) and smashed it on the floor. Okie dokie! I never ever cleared the table after that.

  2. Firstly, as a Jew who supports Israel from a spiritual place, I am very weary of Obama. I am not comfortable w/his policy on Israel and the way it affects Jewish people everywhere. I found the President’s remarks on 9/11 anniversary to be very offensive.

    My bias being stated, this is not much of a Seder folks. When the term “kosher style” is used, it means that Jewish style cuisine, like a corned beef brisket, mazo-ball soup, carrot “tsmis”/soufle etc will be served, but the food and dinner are not in compliance with kosher diet rules. It appears that there are very few children here, except for the Obama daughters and another of their friends. This is really a fun, heavily ritualized dinner that needs the presence of children to convey it’s meaning. I did notice that Obama family stated that the staffers were invited to bring a certain number of family members; hopefully their kids.
    In the past,the Obama Seder was mostly single staff members. It is not fair to the Obama girls to be deprived of seeing and participating in a real Seder. There is nothing in the Seder that ritual that would be offensive to most Christians. However, I’m sure the Obama’s past minister, Rev. Wright would be opposed to this dinner, he was, after all, very outspoken in his distaste for Jewish People and their religion. Many Protestant churches now offer a Christian Seder for their members.
    I think it would be more tasteful for the Obamas to attend a Seder at the home of a friend, or perhaps a temple/Jewish Community Center. That way, they would be seeing the real seder, not this tacky political dinner composed mostly of non-Jews who are actually pretending they are having a seder. It would also send friendlier signals to the Jewish community that Obama was making a sincere effort to “celebrate” America’s Jews, just as he does our Muslim population. I think this display of a mock seder, in leu of Obama’s differences, serious differences, with Jews is very insulting.

    I also read today, on the eve of Passover, that Obamah & his inner Oval Office staff are now huge fans of El Jazeera. What a kiss of death that is for my people here, and in Israel.

    • Maybe we should send him the “Bag ‘o Plagues” to lighten up the evening! It’s a favorite at our house and my kids are grown! It’s the first thing DD goes to get out of the china cupboard.

  3. Again, does Eric Whitaker EVER go home to Illinois? He was there leaping up the steps of the LIncoln Memorial with his best bud Obama two weeks ago, now he’s back for Seder. Doesn’t he have his OWN family? Maybe his wife divorced him because of all the time he spends in DC.

    • A little intrigue for you, courtesy of Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun Times, who wrote this Oct. 2008.

      “Five years ago, Obama, then an Illinois state senator, gave a “glowing” reference for Whitaker to Tony Rezko, the now-convicted political fixer who helped Gov. Blagojevich find people to run state agencies. Blagojevich hired Whitaker to be the state’s public health director.”

      • VERY interesting! I’d forgotten this completely. Wonder what the good doc is supposedl ddoing now?

        I think you need to investigate his job and his marriage, because all he does is hang around the WH.

  4. Reportedly, Obama told God during tonight’s dinner that if he could part the Red Sea, it should be no problem for God to eliminate America’s Red Ink.

    This makes no sense. Pres. Obama would never ask himself to do something for himself.

  5. isn’t “kosher style” a subset of cuisine that is served mainly during presidential campaigns?

    not to be cynical or anything. I’m sure Obama has nothing but the best intentions for the Jewish people, especially those who live in Israel.

  6. Dear President Obama,
    We were pleased to see that you had a beautiful Seder at the White House this year. I would be more pleased if you would support Israel and travel there to show the Jews in this country as well as Jews around the would that you do indeed support our traditional friend in the Middle East. You are the only President in recent history that hasn’t traveled to Israel and that has treated the Israeli President with total disrespect.
    It seems to me that you have showed the Arab leaders respect but not Israeli leaders. Your attitude is being felt by the Jewish people in Israel and your voters in the United States.
    Our family wishes you a Happy, Healthy Passover and Easter season.
    Myra and Stephen Nathenson