WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama hosted a Passover Seder at the White House on Tuesday, with the president saying that Americans are united against the terrible violence perpetrated by a gunman against Jewish targets in Kansas.

In a special Passover message, Obama said that his prayers went out to the people of Overland Park in Kansas, and the family and friends of the three innocent people killed when a gunman, just one day before Passover, opened fire at a Jewish community center and retirement home.

“As Americans, we will continue to stand united against this kind of terrible violence, which has no place in our society,” he said. “We will continue to come together across faiths to combat the ignorance and intolerance, including anti-Semitism, that can lead to hatred and violence.

And we will never lose faith that compassion and justice will ultimately triumph over hate and fear.”

Obama, who started the Seder tradition with campaign staffers in 2008, said that he and Michelle sent their “warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel and around the world.”

He added that one of the great lessons of the Exodus is that “the tale of the Hebrew slaves and their flight from Egypt carries the hope and promise that the Jewish people have held in their hearts for thousands of years, and it is has inspired countless generations in their own struggles for freedom around the globe.”

“In America, the Passover story has always had special meaning,” he added. “We come from different places and diverse backgrounds, but we are bound together by a journey from bondage to liberty enshrined in our founding documents and continued in each generation. As we were so painfully reminded on Sunday, our world is still in need of repair, but the story of the Exodus teaches us that with patience, determination and abundant faith, a brighter future is possible.

Hag Sameah!” The menu at the Seder included the traditional Gefilte fish, chicken soup with matza balls, passover noodle kugel, together with seared salmon with roasted artichokes, braised beef brisket and Passover brownies.

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