Uniting Traditions for Interfaith Families: An Evening with Cokie and Steve Roberts
Following up on their New York Times bestseller From This Day Forward, an exploration of interfaith marriage, veteran news journalists Cokie and Steve Roberts offer Our Haggadah, a contemporary guide to conducting a Passover Seder open to all faiths. Married for 45 years, Steven is Jewish. Cokie is Catholic.
Together they now host an annual Passover seder that is attended by upwards of forty guests of all faiths and that has become a Washington tradition. Hear how the Roberts have integrated family traditions with new rituals and have brought new meaning to Passover.
Steve Roberts has been a journalist for more than 45 years, covering some of the major events of his time, from the antiwar movement and student revolts of the 60s and 70s to President Reagan's historic trip to Moscow in 1988 and eleven presidential election campaigns. After graduating from Harvard magna cum laude in 1964, he joined the New York Times as research assistant to James 'Scotty' Reston, then the paper's Washington bureau chief. His 25-year career with the Times included assignments as bureau chief in Los Angeles and Athens, and as Congressional and White House correspondent. He was a senior writer at U.S. News for seven years, specializing in national politics and foreign policy.
Roberts and his wife, TV journalist Cokie Roberts, write a nationally-syndicated newspaper column that was named one of the ten most popular columns in America by Media Matters. In February of 2000 Steve and Cokie published From This Day Forward, an account of their marriage, as well as other marriages in American history. The New York Times called the book "inspiring and instructive" and it spent seven weeks on the Times best-seller list. Roberts also writes a bi-monthly column, Hometown, for Bethesda Magazine. His childhood memoir, My Fathers' Houses, was published in the spring of 2005 and was featured at the National Book Festival in Washington. His latest book, From Every End of This Earth, the story of 13 immigrant families and the new lives they've made in America, is dedicated to his students at George Washington University.
A well-known commentator on many Washington-based TV shows, Roberts also appears regularly as a political analyst on the ABC radio network and is a substitute host on NPR's "Diane Rehm Show."
As a teacher, he lectures widely on American politics and the role of the news media. Since 1997 he has been the Shapiro Professor of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, where he has taught for the last 19 years.
His many honors include the Dirksen Award for covering Congress, the Wilbur Award for reporting on religion and politics, the Bender prize as one of GW's top undergraduate teachers, and four honorary doctorates. He's been named a Father of the Year by the Father's Day Council and received the Public Service Sector Award from the Aspen Institute.
Cokie Roberts is a senior news analyst for NPR News, where she was the congressional correspondent for more than 10 years. In addition to her work for NPR, Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News, providing analysis for all network news programming.
From 1996-2002 she and Sam Donaldson co-anchored the weekly ABC interview program "This Week." In her more than forty years in broadcasting, she has won countless awards, including three Emmys. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame, and was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the fifty greatest women in the history of broadcasting.
Senior NPR news analyst Cokie Roberts describes the historical relationship between the Easter celebration of her Catholic faith and the Passover seder of her husband's Jewish faith. "The Easter message was the same message," she says. "The message of going from bondage into freedom, from darkness into light, from death into life."
Steve Roberts, professor of journalism at George Washington University, stresses the importance of the wedding ceremony in a mixed marriage. "It sets a tone for how you are going to live your lives, and how you are going to respect each other's families and traditions," says Roberts, who quips that all marriages are mixed marriages.