WASHINGTON – The White House hosted on Thursday a virtual event to celebrate Passover under the title “the people’s Seder.”
President Joe Biden wished a happy Passover “to all who celebrate in America, Israel and around the world.”
“Thanks to the progress made during the pandemic, we’re grateful that this year’s Passover marks the first time in three years that many families and friends sit around the Seder table together again,” he said.
Speaking about the war in Ukraine, the president said that during this holiday, “our hearts are with the people of Ukraine and all the people who are fighting for freedom. May the spirit of Passover deliverance from oppression carry you forward and give you strength.”
Vice President Kamala Harris said that on Friday evening, “our family, like so many families in the United States, in Israel, and around the world, will return to the Seder table.”
“Doug and I will host a Seder at our home with some of our Jewish staff members, and we are both looking forward to it very much,” she said. “We believe it will be the first Passover Seder ever hosted at the vice president’s residence.”
For countless generations people have gathered around the Seder table to be reminded of the power of faith and of the resilience of the human spirit, to relive the journey from oppression to freedom and to find comfort in this story of hope and redemption, she said.
“This year, it is an honor to gather once again, to celebrate the sacred holiday and to renew our shared commitment to fighting for all those who are not yet free,” Harris said.
Deborah Lipstadt, who was confirmed by the Senate recently to serve as the administration’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, participated in the virtual event as well.
“Right now, I am more keenly aware than ever of the brokenness of our world,” she said. “Shortly after Passover, I shall enter into an office to which I have had the high honor of being named by President Joe Biden and unanimously confirmed by the Senate.
“I am honored and I am so grateful, but I am also keenly aware that it is an office that is made necessary by the brokenness of the world,” Lipstadt said.
“I know that I shall not erase that hatred or repair that brokenness,” she lamented, “but deep inside me is the hope, the prayer, that next year, when with God’s help, we gather again, we will be able to say that because of the work I have been privileged to do, the world is a little bit less shattered, less broken.”