Expo brings Passover goodies to Washington Hebrew Congregation

Valerie Zweig of Prescription Chicken, had nearly run out of cookies by the end of the Passover expo, but she still had soup. Photos by Dan Schere.

Valerie Zweig was out of Passover cookies. But she still had matzah ball soup left in an orange Gatorade jug.

“You’re back for more,” she said to a man who came by for seconds on the soup.

Zweig, CEO of Prescription Chicken, was one of six vendors that set up inside Washington Hebrew Congregation’s social hall on Sunday at the Reform congregation’s Passover expo. More than 300 members came to socialize, sample Passover foods and buy Haggadot.

The congregation decided to hold the expo as a way to showcase local businesses and organizations with relevance to the congregation, said Lindsay Fry Feldman, the director of member services.


Zweig said her participation was a coming home of sorts.

“I’m a Washington Hebrew kid,” she said. “I grew up here, got bat mitzvahed here and went back for confirmation. So it’s my temple.”

The Politics and Prose Bookstore table featured Passover cookbooks and Haggadot.

Zweig started Prescription Chicken in 2016 as a chicken soup delivery business. She later opened stands in Washington and Baltimore. In addition to matzah ball soup, she sells six types of chicken soup, as well as miniature challot and, during Passover, macaroons.

Congregants also flocked to the Whole Foods table, where Regional Marketing Manager Todd Schrecengost was spooning out helpings of Tunisian carrot salad, charoset and spinach with pine nuts. There was also a tray with almond macaroons to top it all off. Whole foods partnered with cookbook author Joan Nathan to produce the foods.

Whole Foods Market Regional Marketing Manager Todd Schrecengost hands out samples of prepared Passover foods.

“We’ll cook everything for you,” Schrecengost said. “You order it online and then you just have to reheat it.”
Washington resident Miriam Gusevich was taken by the macaroons.

They’re sweet but no too sweet,” she said after eating one. “With a typical macaroon you feel like you’re eating 100 percent sugar.”

Attendees who wanted recipe ideas instead of prepared foods could check out a table that displayed Passover recipes from the congregation’s clergy members. The recipes included a flourless chocolate cake by Rabbi Joseph Skloot, Rabbi Susan Shankman’s peach farfel and a Passover-friendly carrot cake from Cantor Susan Bortnick.

The Politics and Prose table was crowded with Haggadot and cookbooks, including chef Michael Solomonov’s “Zahav: A World of Israeli cooking.” Most of the books were geared toward adults, but Sunday’s selection included the new children’s book

“Paulie’s Passover Predicament,” by Jane Sutton. There were more children’s items at the synagogue’s Judaica shop table, including bags of toys that represented the 10 plagues.

“People have been interested in the adult and children’s Haggadahs, the plague bags, things to keep young seder attendees engaged,” said Sandy Nesbit, immediate past president of the congregation’s Sisterhood. “That is our goal, to keep young participants engaged.”

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