Happy Passover

By Dan Froomkin
12:41 PM ET, 04/ 9/2009

Margaret Talev writes for McClatchy Newspapers: "Last year, Passover came as then-candidate Barack Obama was campaigning in Pennsylvania. A couple of the campaign staffers on the bus who are Jewish and couldn't get home to be with their families decided to put together a Seder (the traditional meal marking the start of the holiday) as best they could. They were delighted when Obama showed.

"This year, President Obama, who is Christian, is continuing the tradition; he'll attend a Seder on Thursday night at the White House with some staffers, some Jewish and some not. His wife and daughters will be there according to a list of attendees released by White House aides this evening, but some key staff have other commitments. Senior adviser David Axelrod and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel aren't expected. Axelrod said he'll be in Chicago with family.

"The White House list does not include any key Jewish campaign supporters outside the administration or any religious or community leaders, and aides would not say for sure whether others are invited or would attend."

The Associated Press reports: "The White House says the seder meal will be traditional, including matzo, bitter herbs, a roasted egg and greens in the family dining room in the executive mansion. The evening will feature the reading of the Haggadah, the religious text of the holiday."

Technically speaking, Passover dinners are supposed to have an open-door policy, should the Prophet Elijah choose to stop by. But that's not going to happen.

Indeed, the White House press office yesterday mistakenly appended a series of internal e-mails to the daily schedule it sends out to reporters. In one of them, White House director of scheduling Danielle Crutchfield offered an illustration of how nothing is ever simple when the president is concerned. She asked for the seder to be removed from the public schedule. "Apparently Jewish here and in neighboring states are now calling wondering why they have not been invited," she wrote. But it was too late.

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