The Obama 2012 White House seder.
ID's for those facing the camera in the picture: At the far head of the table Eric Whitaker, Alison Silber, Eric Lesser, Neil Cohen, Susan Sher, President Barack Obama, Arun Chaudhary, Laura Moser, Jarrod Bernstein, Herbie Ziskend, empty chair for Elijah, and Hildy Kuryk on the far right head of the table.
(White House photo)
To complete the Obama 2012 seder story, here are details from President Obama's fourth White House seder Friday night.
To recap: Obama's Passover Seder tradition started during the 2008 presidential campaign by a group of staffers who found themselves in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for the primary as the first seder loomed. That 2008 hastily organized seder was led by Eric Lesser, now a Harvard Law School student who served stints in the campaign and at the White House as David Axelrod's assistant and at the White House Council of Economic Advisors. The campaign staffers invited then Sen. Obama, used the Maxwell House haggadah because that's what they could get on short notice and created a tradition that has endured.
The menu: Kosher style, not kosher, with the White House doing most of the cooking. "The menu largely consists of family recipes provided by the staff. Among those family recipes: chicken soup with matzoh balls, braised beef brisket, noodle kugel, carrot soufflé, and matzoh chocolate cake. It will also include a charoset recipe that Jewish author and chef Joan Nathan brought to the White House last week.
Attendees included a core group from the 2008 campaign, growing some with the addition of spouses through the years. The following family, friends, and current and former staff as well as a few of their family members were invited:
· President Barack Obama
· First Lady Michelle Obama
· Malia Obama
· Sasha Obama
· Jarrod Bernstein, White House Jewish liasion and wife, Democratic National Committee Finance Director Hildy Kuryk.
· Arun Chaudhary, 2008 campaign staffer, now former WH videographer and wife, Laura Moser.
· Valerie Jarrett, 2008 campaign advisor, White House senior advisor.
· Lisa Kohnke, 2008 campaign staffer, Obama 2012 re-election campaign director of scheduling and advance. Former Director of Special Events for the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House.
· Eric Lesser, 2008 campaign staffer, former White House director of strategic planning, Office of Economic Advisors and wife, Alison Silber.
· Cookie Offerman, Deputy Associate Director, Office of the Social Secretary
· Avery Robinson, son of Michelle Obama brother Craig Robinson.
· Susah Sher, former chief for staff for First Lady Michelle Obama and her husband, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Neil Cohen.
· Samantha Tubman, 2008 campaign staffer, deputy White House social secretary
· Eric Whitaker, friend of the First Couple
· Melissa Winter, 2008 campaign staffer, Mrs. Obama deputy chief of staff
· Herbie Ziskend, 2008 campaign staffer, Office of the Vice President
My 2012 Obama seder preview is HERE.
My post on the Obama 2011 Passover Seder is HERE.
My post on the Obama 2010 Passover Seder is HERE.
My post on the Obama 2009 Seder is HERE.
Obama White House 2012 Passover recipes post is HERE.