(JTA) – President Obama will host a seder at the White House on the first night of Passover.
Obama’s seder on Friday night will continue a tradition that started in 2008, when he was a presidential candidate on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania and he joined a small group of staff members at an impromptu seder.
On Thursday, the president issued a video Passover message.
"The story of the Exodus is thousands of years old, but it remains as relevant as ever," he said. "Throughout our history, there are those who have targeted the Jewish people for harm — a fact we were so painfully reminded of just a few weeks ago in Toulouse.
"Michelle and I are proud to celebrate with friends here at home and around the world, including those in the State of Israel," Obama said, wishing the Jewish community a "Chag sameach."
On Wednesday night, the U.S. Department of Agriculture hosted a separate seder in Washington. The second annual Food and Justice Seder was co-hosted by the White House, organzied by Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice and sponsored by kosher poultry giant Empire Kosher. It was attended by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.