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Will Judge David Hittner’s Annual Passover Party of “Faith and Politics” Be Cancelled Due to COVID-19?

Despite the ethical issues, Judge David Hittner ignores them and holds an annual gathering of all the top politicians and lawyers in and around the State of Texas, breaching his judicial oath e.g. canons 4 and 5.

LIT COMMENTARY

Despite the ethical issues, Hittner ignores them and holds an annual gathering of all the top politicians and lawyers in and around the State of Texas, breaching his judicial oath e.g. canons 4 and 5. For example, his son and lawyer, George Hittner promoting his political and business interests -including the red light traffic light system in earlier years at this annual passover dinner party.

Sharing is a Passover tradition for the Hittner family

JEWISH HOLIDAY
The Hittner family puts on a Seder for friends and family that’s a joyful learning experience

Although the Passover Seder recalls the ancient days when Jews were slaves in Egypt, attorney George J. Hittner knows how to bring some laughter to the table.

And more than 200 of his friends and their families show up each year to participate.

“This is not a party, but it is a good time,” said Hittner, 29, a Labor Department attorney in Washington, D.C., who returns to his native city each Passover to host the event.

Leslie Zeidman, a hospital marketing representative, is bringing her parents and her grandmother on Sunday.

“I have told them about it every year, and they are finally coming,” Zeidman said. “It’s a fun way for other people to learn about Passover, and it is a fun way for me to celebrate the holiday.”

The eight-day Jewish observance begins at sundown today. Many Jews will mark the first night with small family dinners. Hittner’s invitation list is vast for the second-night Seder, which he hosts with his parents, U.S. District Judge David Hittner and Dr. Helen Mintz Hittner.

“People who are not Jewish, who are interested and want to attend but have never been to a Seder, that’s a surefire way to get your name on the list,” he said. “The other way is Jewish families or Jewish friends of mine who don’t have a place to go (for Seder).”

Guests include fellow students from his college days at Texas A&M University and law school buddies from the University of Texas. A childhood friend now brings his family. An attorney friend now brings her husband, parents, sister and brother-in-law.

They will eat chicken, matzo ball soup and half-sour pickles at Damian’s Cucina Italiana in Midtown. Traditional bitter herbs will remind Jews of the bitterness of slavery.

And, of course, there will be the four toasts of wine called for in the haggadah, the narrative retelling of the Exodus story. Hittner selects different people to read from the haggadah booklet, and often challenges them to a fun recital.

“Toward the end you have to recite long passages without taking a breath, and this is after having a few glasses of wine,” said attorney Marianne Ibrahim, an Egyptian Christian. “It is just fun, it is great. I canceled all plans to be sure I am there.”

Ibrahim has not missed one of Hittner’s celebrations since 2003.

Judge Hittner joins in the fun by leading a silly song about a goat. And when the evening comes to the story about the four children attending their first Seder — a wise one, a simple one, a clueless one and a stubborn one — “It is always fun to pick someone out from the audience who is the dumb child, and so on,” the judge said.

Judge Hittner always picks his ex-wife, Helen Mintz Hittner, a pediatric ophthalmologist, as the wise child, but the other three are at random.

Their son, who began hosting a handful of friends in his Austin apartment eight years ago, expects about 210 people to show up this year. He flew in earlier this week to help his father prepare the haroset, an apple and nut dish, for the Seder.

No matter the laughter and fun, Hittner said he always keeps in mind that this is a religious dinner.

“I see this as a good deed and part of my religious obligation,” he said. “I think this is a significant religious experience for the majority of those that come.

“Of course we have a good time but end every year on a solemn note, ‘Let there be peace on Earth, and next year we will host this in Jerusalem.’ “

Will Judge David Hittner’s Annual Passover Party of “Faith and Politics” Be Cancelled Due to COVID-19?
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