Official video Passover greetings from U.S. President Barack Obama to Jews around the world were posted to the Internet Saturday night – 24 hours after the start of the holiday and too late for American Orthodox Jews to have heard his message, since the holiday lasts 48 hours outside the Land of Israel.
The video greeting also came a day after Israeli Jews had already celebrated their own Passover seders as well.
An official press statement from the president on Passover was issued by the White House on April 3, however, in time for the first night of Passover.
Obama explained Saturday night in his video message that he and his family had held a Passover seder at the White House in solidarity with Jewish families celebrating the holiday.
“This weekend is a special weekend,” he said. “It’s a chance to spend time with family … and celebrate miracles in days gone by,” he said, “and to reflect on the blessings God has granted us in our lives.”
“On Friday night, I hosted a Passover seder at the White House. Michelle and I joined Jewish families in America, Israel and around the world as we retold the story of an awesome God who liberated the nation with a mighty Hand and an outstretched arm., and set them on their journey towards the Promised Land.
“The tale that has been passed down from generation to generation and it’s given strength and courage to countless men and women over the years – to Jews facing anti-Semitism, and to the brave young civil rights leaders who led our own country’s march towards justice and equality,” he said, managing to tuck the issue of America’s race relations even into a simple Passover greeting.
He then turned to the upcoming Christian observance of Easter, noting that on Sunday, Christians around the world would be celebrating the holiday.
“Easter is a day of hope, in a season of hope,” he said. It’s a reaffirmation of our belief, not just as Christians, but as Americans, that better days are always ahead of us…
“We believe that with common effort, and shared sacrifice, a brighter future is just around the bend. And we embrace our obligation to do something meaningful; something lasting with the precious time we’ve been allotted on this earth.
“So, to my Jewish friends, Happy Passover. To all Christians celebrating tomorrow, Happy Easter. And to every American, have a wonderful weekend.”