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Governor Rauner hosts model Seder

About 75 legislators and executive branch officials as well as Jewish Federation leaders from across the state participated. 

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Governor Bruce Rauner hosts a model Seder at the Governor's Mansion on March 24

Governor Bruce Rauner and first lady Diana Rauner hosted a model Seder at the Governor’s Mansion Tuesday night.  About 75 legislators and executive branch officials as well as Jewish Federation leaders from across the state participated. 

The evening’s co-host committee included JUF board members Keith (Marci) Shapiro and Morrie Silverman (Lori Komisar) and former JUF Annual Campaign Chairman Andy (Diane) Lappin as well as Kelly and Jeff Brincat. The service was led by Rabbi Avraham Kagan of Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois.

Each of the 10 tables took turns leading the Seder, the first ever for several of the legislators present.

Governor Rauner welcomed the attendees – not to his and his wife’s governor’s mansion, but to “the house of the people of Illinois … your house,” indicating a desire to have many more such events in the future.  He also stressed the eternal lessons that are central to the Passover story, and their enduring relevance to the challenges our world and community still face. 

Talking about nefarious efforts to impose boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) on Israel, the governor stressed how disingenuous and dangerous such efforts are in general and especially on college campuses, pledging not only his opposition to such campaigns but that Illinois will be a national leader in the battle against BDS.

The first lady added, “It was very meaningful for us to celebrate this very important holiday in our new home with representatives of the Jewish community throughout the state.”

JUF Executive Vice President Jay Tcath, who attended Tuesday night’s Seder as well as ones hosted by previous governors, welcomed the re-launching of the tradition, saying, “it’s a treat to take time off from the usual business of pressing state governmental affairs and to share, with the Governor, Diana, state senators and reps and Jewish Federation colleagues from across Illinois, something as enjoyable and meaningful as a model Seder. 

"The chance to schmooze in such an informal, beautiful, historic setting is always special, and many thanks are due to the Rauners and the four co-host families, all great supporters of JUF and our Jewish community. And thanks also to Richard Goldberg, Rauner's deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs for his partnership on this and on the many issues of concern to our community." 

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