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Is Obama really Jewish?

Barack Obama at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem in July 2008

President Obama is to attend what is believed to be the first White House Passover Seder in the family dining room of the White House official — and it's not his first.

Last year, as Obama was battling now-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in the hotly-contested Pennsylvania primary, some Jewish staffers couldn't get home in time for Passover. So,  like the Jews fleeing Egypt in haste, they scrambled to prepare an impromptu Seder in the Sheraton in Harrisburg; they ordered room service.

The Obamas, members in good standing of the liberal enclave of Chicago known as Hyde Park, had attended Seders before. And last year, Obama brought aide Valerie Jarrett and family friend Marty Nesbitt to the impromptu Seder in Pennsylvania. They all plan to attend the friends-and-family Seder tonight at the White House, and 24-year-old Eric Lesser, who handled baggage call during the campaign and now works for special assistant David Axelrod, will lead the service.

The Passover story, with its Exodus themes of liberation and social justice, is a good fit for Team Obama. But one can only imagine how confusing this will be for critics who insist that the Christian president is really a Muslim.

One side note: At the end of the Seder it's traditional to say, "Next Year in Jerusalem." But last year, the campaign crowd ended its service with "Next Year in the White House." This year, one aide said, the staff will use the holiday to reflect "on all that has happened in our lives since last year's Seder in Harrisburg." 

Why is this night different from other nights? President Clinton's staff held Seders, but he did not attend, making the Obamas the first to host a Seder at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

-- Johanna Neuman

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Photo credit: Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (3)

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Why must we ALWAYS appease the Jews? They represent less than 2% of the US population ! They are one of the smallest minorities yet they CONTROL this culture (Wall street, all forms of media, banks). When do you see politicians openly celebrating Hispanic (majority population by 2020) or black or Native American holidays. Wake up America !

Obama should really keep religious services out of the White House and keep pandering to his Chief of Staff.

I senrt the Obamas my Bubbe's special Passover macaroon recipe:

1. Open can.
2. Serve.
3. Eat.



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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
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