Vox Tablet

Crossing Over

Journalists Steve and Cokie Roberts, a non-observing Jew and a Catholic, have hosted Passover Seders together for four decades. They share the rituals from their interfaith observance in a new haggadah.

March 21, 2011
Cokie and Steve Roberts at their 1966 wedding in Bethesda, Maryland.(Courtesy Steve and Cokie Roberts)

Cokie and Steve Roberts at their 1966 wedding in Bethesda, Maryland.(Courtesy Steve and Cokie Roberts)

It can take someone outside your own background to make you realize how much your tradition has to offer. Such was the case for veteran journalist Steve Roberts. Now a professor, Roberts grew up Jewish but non-religious in Bayonne, New Jersey. It was only after he married his Catholic wife, Cokie Roberts, in 1966, that his family held their first seder, at her insistence. Steve and Cokie, a longtime National Public Radio correspondent, have been hosting Seders together since, and the haggadah they use is one they’ve compiled over more than four decades. It forms the basis of Our Haggadah: Uniting Traditions for Interfaith Families, which combines traditional Seder elements with references to contemporary history and the traditions of other faiths—most notably Christianity. Steve and Cokie Roberts spoke to Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry about their first Seder, why Passover is particularly well-suited to interfaith families, and their inclusive approach to celebrating it, which includes Christian references, Hebrew readings, and legumes. [Running time: 22:16.]

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Vox Tablet is Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast, hosted by Sara Ivry and produced by Julie Subrin. You can listen to individual episodes here or subscribe on iTunes.

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