For the first time ever, Kesher Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C., will be partnering with Char Bar, DC’s only full-service kosher meat restaurant, to host a communitywide Passover seder. The event will take place on Friday, March 30, the first night of Passover.
The organizers said the event is meant to bring in different members of the DC Jewish community to celebrate and enjoy the holiday in a communal setting. Individual tables and a larger communal forum will be available, and people of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of Jewish knowledge are welcome to attend.
Rabbi Hyim Shafner of Kesher Israel will be leading the Seder. As a former Hillel rabbi and educator, he is no stranger to hosting large Seders and is thrilled to host one for the DC Jewish community. The Seder will feature the traditional reading of the Haggadah, as well as interactive exercises that he’s created over the years to spur discussion amongst the crowd. There will even be prizes for participants. Rabbi Shafner loves Passover, noting that the Torah commands we not only tell the story but also ask questions. He also shared that he borrows the Mizrahi (Middle Eastern) custom of dressing up for the Seder and acting out the Passover story with the children.
Char Bar Manager Michael Chelst said he is excited for this partnership with Kesher Israel. He also provided a menu preview, describing each delicious course for the planned four-course meal. Included in the price are a fish and salad course, choice of soup (including traditional matzah ball soup or butternut squash), a choice of main course (brisket, chicken, or vegetarian), along with sides and a deliciously light and creamy Neopolitan mousse with strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla. Wine and shmura matzah (specially supervised matzah) are extra.
Chelst hopes that Char Bar can continue doing events that benefit the DC Jewish community. He noted that Char Bar currently does special-event Shabbat dinners and they hope to expand to doing other holiday events. Char Bar will also have kosher-for-Passover catering and food options available at the restaurant during Chol Hamoed (intermediate days of Passover).
To register or to learn more about the event, visit the Kesher Israel website (https://www.kesher.org/pesach-seder-2018) or www.charbardc.com. Sign-up and payment are required in advance to attend.
Pricing: Kesher members: $59/adult, $39/child. (Members must be signed into their ShulCloud account in order to receive member pricing.) General community: $70/adult, $45/child. Price includes grape juice. Wine is $14/bottle, hand shmura matzah $29/lb. Guests may bring their own kosher-for-Passover, mevushal wine and/or shmura matzah. (These prices do not include 20 percent gratuity.)
By Jackie Feldman
Jackie Feldman is a young professional living and working in Washington, D.C. She runs the group “Sephardic Jews in DC,” which hosts events in the metro DC area that celebrate Sephardic culture, religious tradition, and customs. She also has her own food blog that features a healthier spin on many traditional Jewish and Sephardic recipes: https://healthysephardiccooking.wordpress.com/.