Hot on HuffPost:

See More Stories

White House Koshers Its Kitchen for Obama Hanukkah Party

5 years ago
  0 Comments Say Something  »
Text Size

The Obama White House throws its first Hanukkah party on Wednesday night, and the White House kitchen has been "koshered" -- undergone a special cleansing -- in order to serve kosher food at the reception President Obama and First Lady Michelle are hosting.

Obama's first Hanukkah celebration as president has not been without some controversy. Stories have appeared in the mainstream and Jewish press saying that the White House is shortchanging Jewish supporters -- who figured heavily in Obama's fundraising and political success -- by being stingy with the invitations. But Politics Daily has learned that the number of invitees for the Wednesday event is more than were invited in all but one of the previous years the party has been thrown, starting in 2001.

The White House told me 550 guests are invited this year. During the Bush years, there were 265 invitees in 2001; 373 in 2002; 500 in 2003; 387 in 2004; 427 in 2005; 477 in 2006; 584 in 2007; and 520 in 2008.

I've seen a few reports that the Obama White House cut back its list from 800 guests; that's just a bubbe meise, a good Yiddish phrase that means, roughly, "old wives' tale." (In more modern times, it might be used to describe an urban legend.)

On the food front, I was at the White House holiday party on Monday (technically, by the way, not called a Christmas party) and the fare was fine but very unkosher: shrimp, for example, and dairy and meat products served on the same table. There were also tiny potato latkes (pancakes), a traditional Hanukkah food.

For the Hanukkah gathering, the White House has ordered food from a kosher catering company. The White House kitchen has to be koshered because the food will be served up from there. (Once kosher food makes contact with non-kosher food or kitchen items, it is no longer kosher.) Rabbi Levi Shemtov -- Chabad's man in Washington -- from the Lubavitch Center is supervising the koshering effort, as he did during the Bush years when the same process took place.

This from a White House source: "The White House silver and other serving items will be dipped into a specially prepared pot of boiling water, the stovetops and ovens will be raised to a very high temperature and the countertops will be cleaned and covered before the food is prepared for serving at the reception."

Updated: For those who are very strictly kosher, here are more details: Rabbi Shemtov is koshering the White House kitchen in cooperation with the Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington
All meats are Glatt Kosher,
All baked goods are Pas Yisroel,
All wines are Mevushal,
All foods have been prepared Lemihadrin with a Mashgiach Temidi.

To translate: they are going by the book. end update

This is the sixth night of Hanukkah. A candle lighting will take place, using a menorah from the Jewish Museum in Prague. The children of a soldier deployed overseas -- a boy, 5 and a girl, 6 -- will light the menorah. Kol Sasson, an a cappella group from the University of Maryland, will perform.

Outbrain - The Most Trusted Content Discovery Platform

Get Your Content Discovered.

Promote your content on premium websites

Learn More ›

Outbrain Amplify:
Get your content discovered

Your content will be promoted on the web's largest and most respected media properties, including CNN.com, Slate and ESPN. We make sure it's seen precisely when people will find it most interesting.

Learn More

Outbrain Engage: The solution for a modern publisher

Outbrain Engage is a full stack software solution that empowers an entire media organization to more effectively manage its online content and programming experience.

Learn More

The world's largest content discovery platform

We bring together premium publishers and marketers of all sizes (including many of the world's leading brands) into the world's largest and most vibrant content marketplace. Learn more about Outbrain ›

561 Million

The global audience reached by Outbrain each month*

190 Billion

The total recommendations we serve consumers monthly

80%

Of the world’s leading brands use Outbrain

* Audience reach according to comScore, September 2014. Leading brands via Ad Age DataCenter / Kantar Media, 2014.

Andy Blau
We selected Outbrain not only because the revenues were higher than others, but because its engine drives better recommendations than others.
Andy Blau
Senior Vice President, Group General Manager
Time Inc.
Dan Horowitz
It's less about buying traffic than it is about reaching the right people with relevant headlines to get them to your content.
Dan Horowitz
EVP and Senior Partner
Fleishman-Hillard Digital
Katrina Craigwell
Our goal is always to deliver content that adds value to the conversations being held by the end user. Outbrain allows us to do just that.
Katrina Craigwell
Global Manager of Digital Marketing
GE
Bailey Foote
The fact that we’re able to drive these kinds of transactions with consumers at scale and with increasing efficiency has made Outbrain paramount to our marketing strategy.
Bailey Foote
E-commerce Manager
The Line
Neal Moore
You cannot leave it to chance that someone will find and engage with your content. Outbrain can put your content in the midst of the world’s most prestigious publications.
Neal Moore
CEO
Click2View
Zach Zavos
Having links to our content appearing directly on premium publisher sites helped us establish our brand.
Zach Zavos
Co-Founder
Conversant Media
Mike Brito
Outbrain is one of those [critical] components helping us deliver the right messages to the right contingent at massive scale and in real time to counter a crisis.
Mike Brito
Group Director
WCG

A global footprint of service

We operate offices in 11 global territories and we partner with publishers and marketers in over 55 countries, including the U.S., UK, France, Brazil, India and Japan. Come join us ›

Our New Approach to Comments

In an effort to encourage the same level of civil dialogue among Politics Daily’s readers that we expect of our writers – a “civilogue,” to use the term coined by PD’s Jeffrey Weiss – we are requiring commenters to use their AOL or AIM screen names to submit a comment, and we are reading all comments before publishing them. Personal attacks (on writers, other readers, Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush, or anyone at all) and comments that are not productive additions to the conversation will not be published, period, to make room for a discussion among those with ideas to kick around. Please read our Help and Feedback section for more info.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum Comment Moderation Enabled. Your comment will appear after it is cleared by an editor.

Follow Politics Daily

  • Comics
robert-and-donna-trussell
CHAOS THEORY
Featuring political comics by Robert and Donna TrussellMore>>
  • Woman UP Video
politics daily videos
Weekly Videos
Woman Up, Politics Daily's Online Sunday ShowMore»
politics daily videos
TV Appearances
Showcasing appearances by Politics Daily staff and contributors.More>>