Great back story on tonight's White House Seder, which Obama aides say is a first for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, from NBC's First Read:
The Seder, it turns out, is a fulfillment of a vow that a small group of Obama campaign staff made during their Seder last year, on April 19.
Unable to go home for the holidays, the group of about 10 held an impromptu Seder in the basement of the Sheraton Hotel in Harrisburg, Pa., as the Obama campaign neared the end of its long primary campaign battle in the state.
Obama participated in the Jewish ritual, along with a few friends who were traveling with him that day. At the end of the ritual, after the traditional refrain "Next year in Jerusalem!" Sen. Obama and others in the group jokingly added, "Next year in the White House!"
Here is the guest list, according to the Huffington Post:
Among those invited was Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama's closest advisers, and family friend Eric Whitaker, who was visiting from Chicago and attended a Seder last year with the campaign. First lady Michelle Obama and the family's two daughters also attended.
The staff guest list included aides from the campaign trail who marked last year's Passover at the Sheraton hotel in Harrisburg, Pa. Obama's personal aide, Reggie Love; Michelle Obama's deputy chief of staff, Melissa Winter; personal aide Dana Lewis and associate social secretary Samantha Tubman all received invitations.
Also on the guest list were Eric Lesser, a personal aide to senior adviser David Axelrod, and his family. Lesser worked during the New Hampshire primary and later handled baggage for traveling reporters. White House videographer Arun Chaudhary _ a constant presence on the trail _ landed invitations for his family.
Others in the exclusive group included Michelle Obama's counsel and friend Susan Sher; Herbie Ziskend, a staff assistant to Vice President Joe Biden's policy and economic advisers; and White House deputy director of advance and special events Lisa Kohnke.
Looks like it turned out to be a pleasant intimate affair:
So it's only right that Obama have a special dinner in honor of Ramadan, a dinner that apparently is not planned to be quite as intimate:
Here is the list of invited guests, as provided by the White House:
Cabinet: Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.Deputy Cabinet secretaries: Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower and Education Deputy Secretary Adam Miller.
Congress: Reps. Andre Carson (D-Ind.), John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.) and Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.).
Diplomats: Ambassador Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al Hussein of Jordan; Ambassador Adel A.M. Al Jubeir of Saudi Arabia; Ambassador Husain Haqqani of Pakistan; Ambassador Erlan A. Idrissov of Kazakhstan; Ambassador His Excellency Said ...
... Tayeb Jawad of Afghanistan; Ambassador Aziz Mekouar of Morocco; Ambassador Peter N.R.O. Ogego of Kenya.
Also, Ambassador Roble Olhaye of D’jibouti; Ambassador Michael Oren of Israel; Ambassador Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat of Indonesia; Ambassador Klaus Scharioth of Germany; Ambassador Meera Shankar of India; Ambassador Nabi Sensoy of Turkey; Ambassador Sir Nigel Elton Sheinwald of Britain; Ambassador Sameh Hassan Shoukry of Egypt; Ambassador Samir Shakir Mahmood Sumaida’ie of Iraq; and Ambassador Pierre Nicolas Vimont of France.
Also the following Chargé d'Affaires: Sheikh Mohammed Belal of Bangladesh; Ilango Karuppanan of Malaysia; Mohamed O Maiga; Angela Oi Foong Shim of Brunei; Baba Gana Wakil of Nigeria; and Maen Areikat, chief of mission, Palestine Liberation Organization.Members of the public: Bilquis Abdul-Qaadir, University of Memphis; Professor Azizah Al-Hibri, University of Richmond School of Law; Reema Ali, Karamah, Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights; Hasan Chandoo, Oppenheimer & Co.; Rabbi Nathan Diament, director, Institute for Public Affairs, Orthodox Union; Imam Plemon El-Amin, Atlanta Masjid al-Islam.
Also, Wahid Hamid, PepsiCo; Dina Hammad; Lutfi Hassan; Nashala Hearn; Rosalind Hearn; Imam Yahya Hendi, chaplain, Georgetown University; pastor Joel Hunter, Northland Church; Nooman Husain; and Imad Hussain.
Additionally, Sanford Ibrahim, CEO, Radian Group; Jameel Jaffer, staff attorney, ACLU; Mrs. Elsheba Khan; Dr. Mansur Khan, UMMA Community Clinic; Farhana Khera, Muslim Advocates; Lt. Commander Abuhena Saifulislam, U.S. Marine Corps; and Kareem Salama.
Also, Imam Yusuf Saleem; Masjid Muhammad; Dr. Ingrid Mattson, president, Islamic Society of North America; Farooq Mitha; Dalia Mogahed, director, Gallup Center for Muslim Studies; Hutham Olayan, Olayan America Corp.; Eboo Patel, Interfaith Youth Corps; and Rabbi David Saperstein, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism.
Additionally, Mina Trudeau, executive director, El Fatiha Foundation; J. Saleh Williams, Congressional Muslim Staffers Assn.; and Mohamed Zakariya, Zakariya Calligraphy.
To their credit, the White House invited Jews as well, including Ambassador Michael Oren of Israel.
And just about every Muslim they could think of.
Just part of reaching out to Muslims, but also another example of extolling Muslims while giving Jews and Israel short shrift--as Obama did in his inaccurate and one-sided Cairo address.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad