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Obama asks ‘mah nishtana?’

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Barack Obama sounded a wistful note in his last Passover message as president. “Mah nishtana halailah hazeh?” said the White House statement released Friday, April 22, hours before the start of the holiday, using the Haggadah’s phrase, reserved for the youngest child at the seder meal, who asks “Why is this night different from all others?” “For Michelle and me, this Passover is different from all other Passovers because it will mark our last seder in the White House – a tradition we have looked forward to each year since hosting the first-ever White House Seder in 2009,” Obama said in his message. Obama this year is holding the seder late because he is overseas during the first two nights of the holiday. Earlier this week, Obama on April 18 also marked “Education and Sharing Day,” a declaration presidents have issued since the Carter administration in honor of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the late leader of the Chabad Lubavitch movement. Obama cited Schneerson’s “tireless devotion to extending access to education to more people — regardless of their gender or background.”

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