Jewish Journal


April 10, 2009

Not everyone happy about Obama Passover dinner



I listened to my commentary on “Which Way, L.A.?,” and amazingly I didn’t sound ridiculous. What is ridiculous, though, is the basis for a Passover story in the Los Angeles Times.

It turns out that while President Obama becoming the first U.S. president to host and attend a White House Seder was seen as a nice gesture by some of his supporters, others were miffed. Why? Because they weren’t invited and their delicate egos couldn’t bear the slight.

The Times reported:

“Apparently Jewish [residents] here and in neighboring states are now calling wondering why they have not been invited,” one staffer wrote, asking to take the event off the public schedule. The White House, which kept the dinner on the schedule because it had been announced, would not say who had sought invitations.

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Jewish cousin, Rabbi Capers Funnye of Chicago, thought that though Seders are traditionally held in the spirit of inclusiveness, it might be a bit much to host all those seeking to celebrate at the White House.

“I would hope that there would be a sense of understanding that . . . also, Seder is about family,” said Funnye, a convert to Judaism, who was not at the White House. “I think you would certainly have to limit it. . . . You want to be inclusive, but you also want to be prudent in being inclusive as well.”

Here’s who was invited. Big news, I know.

The NYT’s Caucus blog filed this dispatch last night after the Seder had been celebrated:

The Seder, held in the Old Family Dining Room at the White House with several aides and their families, included the traditional Passover dishes, matzo ball soup, brisket and kugel. The White House chefs prepared the meal after consulting family recipes from several Seder participants.

The Caucus also included this barn-burning revelation: “Mr. Obama is not Jewish.”

Not a Jew, not a Muslim. What is he? Oh yeah ...

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