The springtime Jewish holiday of Passover is one of the world's most ancient surviving customs celebrating liberation and freedom from slavery. It's an annual event, one that creates formative childhood memories, and opportunities for spiritual renewal — as well as eating.
If you had x-ray vision, you'd find quite a range in Brooklyn: traditional seders, feminist seders, civil rights seders, human rights seders, gay rights seders, and social justice seders. Serious seders and silly ones. Kosher seders and transgressive seders where (sssssh)shrimp is served, precisely because it shouldn't be.
However, the vast majority of people in Brooklyn who attend a Passover seder do so at home — ideally not their own, as it's so much work to prepare.
It's not always possible to wrangle an invitation to a home-based Passover seder in New York City. Apartments are small. People are busy. For some, Passover is just too psycho-socially-logistically complicated to cope with.
So, if... you're looking to experience a Passover seder in Brooklyn, and aren't sure where to go, here are two recommendations. One, literally get the taste of Passover at a restaurant. Two, cross your fingers for good luck, and attend one of Brooklyn's many, diverse community seders.
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Longing for the tastes of grandma's Passover, without all the questions?
Join in Passover food fun at the contemporary Israeli-Mediterranean restaurant Miriam. Come by yourself, or with a dozen friends for a DIY Pesach meal. It's not a seder, nor is it kosher. What it is, is delicious.
The ala carte menu includes all the special holiday foods, including appetizers of asparagus, artichoke hearts, and endive with bleu cheese, gefilte fish, haroset, chopped liver, and main courses of leg of lamb or fish, with sides of kugel, tsimmis, and rice with lentils. Desserts, for which you won't have room, are to-die-for anyway.
- Miriam Restaurant in Park Slope
- 79 Fifth Avenue
- (718) 622-2250
- Reservations required
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Local Synagogues Host Community Seders in Brooklyn 2011
Numerous local synagogues throughout Brooklyn offer community seders. Put on some nice, casual clothes, be prepared to make friends with strangers, and feel at home in a new crowd.
Expect a festive, multi-generational event with song, stories, and hagadas. The meal will likely consist of traditional foods such as hard-boiled eggs, gefilte fish, and matzo ball soup, chicken, or salmon and dessert.
Here are several:
Congregation Kol Israel of Prospect Heights-Fort Greene ("unorthodox Orthodox")
- 603 St. Johns Place in Prospect Heights
- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 347-277-6908
- Reservations in advance required
- 274 Garfield Place off 8th Avenue in Park Slope (718) 768-3814
Congregation B'nai Avraham (Orthodox)
- 117 Remsen Street in Brooklyn Heights (718) 596-4840
- Reserve in advance
Progressive Temple Beth Ahavath Sholom; (Progressive)
- 1515 46th Street, at 15th Avenue (718) 436-5082
- Reserve: email@example.com
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Special Seders for Special Populations
On a more serious note, some seders serve special populations. For instance, the Borough Park-based Seder of Freedom and Healing is for families who have suffered abuse. It offers a "safe and healthy environment for parents and people who suffered from domestic abuse or have been a victim of child abuse."
- Sponsored by Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty and Jewish Board of Advocates for Children
- Contact for more information
- Space is limited, call 1-800-958 2904