WASHINGTON – The White House officially marked Passover on Monday with the third annual virtual Passover celebration, also known as “People’s Seder.”
Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff addressed in his remarks the global rise of antisemitism, and said that “during Passover, we also recommit to combating antisemitism and hate.”
“We all know we're seeing a rise in antisemitism across the nation and across the world,” said Emhoff. “People are no longer saying the quiet parts out loud. They are literally screaming them,” he continued.
Emhoff went on to say that combating this hate “requires an all-of-society approach.”
“We need to speak out and call out those who don't; We need to make sure that people feel safe in their homes, where they practice their faith and in their communities,” he said. “We need to educate others to ensure that history does not repeat itself. We need to push back against Holocaust denial, distortion, and disinformation.”
He said that during his recent trip to Poland and Germany, he met with community leaders, interfaith leaders, and government officials to increase and better coordinate our efforts to counter antisemitism and other forms of hate. “Our administration will continue to condemn antisemitism at every turn,” Emhoff added. “I'm proud to be Jewish and I'm proud to be openly living as a Jew. We will not live in fear and we refuse to be afraid. Passover reminds us that even in our most challenging moments, there is hope for renewal and liberation.”
Efforts to end hunger
The theme of this year’s event was food security and included remarks from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and community leaders such as Eric Fingerhut, CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, Rabbis, heads of organizations and prominent figures who take an active role in efforts to end hunger, such as chef Jose Andres and actor Joshua Malina.
“On the first night of Passover, my wife, vice President Kamala Harris, and I hosted a Seder at our home,” Emhoff told the virtual audience. “Reading the story of the Exodus serves as a reminder of the journey from oppression to freedom, the journey that is ongoing for so many.”
“During the Seder, we say, 'let all who are hungry come and eat' [and] this year's virtual Seder theme is food security,” he continued. “It's a topic that doesn't get nearly as much attention as it deserves. I've heard directly from families across the country about the impact that food insecurities had on them.”
He said that President Biden, Vice President Harris and Secretary of Agriculture of Vilsack “are pioneering solutions to combat hunger and food insecurity,” and that the administration “is committed to ending hunger by 2030” and continuing to make progress towards meeting this goal.