If you’re coming up on Passover with no seder plans on either or both of the first two nights (March 30 and 31), you still can celebrate. Across the Washington area, there will be Haggadah readings and multi-course meals at restaurants, synagogues, JCCs and in the homes of Jews eager to answer the Haggadah’s call to “let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in want come and celebrate the Passover with us.”
Here are local seders that will get you so involved, you’ll feel as if you were leaving Egypt:
Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in Washington will host two first-night seders — a traditional celebration led by Chazzan Larry Paul and a social justice seder.
A PowerPoint Haggadah will lead participants through the social justice seder, said Rabbi Suzy Stone. The presentation will include photos and videos of world events since last Passover.
Stone said the purpose of the social justice seder is to use the symbolism of Passover as material for discussion. The seder plate will include not only an orange — a custom begun in the 1980s to illustrate equality for women — it will also include a tomato. Stone said several rabbis began that custom after observing poor working conditions of tomato growers in Immokalee, Fla.
“The seder provokes the question of, ‘why this?’” Stone said. “That’s what we Jews do. We ask questions on Passover.” $56, sixthandi.org.
There will be small group discussions at Kesher Israel’s first-night seder, held at the kosher restaurant Char Bar in Foggy Bottom. The Orthodox congregation’s rabbi, Hyim Shafer, was once a Hillel rabbi, and said he tries to make his seders interactive.
One of the most interesting table discussions, he said, occurs during reading about the four children — the wise one, the wicked one, the simple one and the one who doesn’t know how to ask.
“It’s trying to give the message that everybody’s different,” he said.
Shafner said the meal will include brisket, chicken, fish and vegetarian options. $70 for adults, $45 for children. For congregation members: $59 for adults, $39 for children. Register at kesher.org.
Teddy & the Bully Bar, near Dupont Circle, is holding seders on both the first and second night of Passover. Chef Demetrio Zavala, who is Jewish, is using all-local ingredients in his four-course meal. It will include entrees such as salmon rillettes with caper, lemon and mustard seasoning and gefilte fish with horseradish beets and pickled carrots. As an appetizer, there will be matzah toast with heirloom tomatoes, labneh and spices.
The dining room will be decorated in blue and white, Zavala said, and 10 to 12 people typically sit at one table. The restaurant provides seder plates and Haggadot for a 30-minute service, led by one person at each table. Guests typically include families and students from area universities.
“You have a lot of students in the area that don’t have a lot of time to go home,” he said. “This allows them to still be able to celebrate their seder. We do it for you.”
$45 for adults, $21 for children under 12. Teddyandthebullybar.com.
For those who prefer a small, intimate first-night seder with people in their 20s and 30s, the Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center’s group EntryPointDC has recruited volunteers to host “satellite seders” in their homes.
EntryPointDC manager Stacy Miller said these seders include three to 25 guests, depending on the size of the host’s home. The advantage of the satellite program, she said, is that each seder is different.
“Sometimes people are looking for a seder where there’s vegetarian food, or one that’s more relaxed, so we take that into consideration as well,” Miller said.
Already going to a seder on the first night? The Edlavitch DC JCC will also host a community second-night seder, led by musicians Micah Hendler and Ari Jacobson. There will be a mix of singing, reading and discussion, and a kosher meat meal will follow. $60 for adults, $45 young professionals, $20 for children under 12. washingtondcjcc.org.
Other community seders include a second-night community seder hosted by Kol Ami Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Jewish Community, held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington. $20 for adults, $5 for children under 13. kolamivirginia.org.
In Maryland, Conservative Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County in Bethesda will host a second-night seder. $57 for adults, $47 for member adults, $27 children ages 7 to 12, $18 children ages 2 to 6 and free for children under 2. bethelmc.org.
Beth Sholom Congregation in Potomac, an Orthodox synagogue, will hold a second-night seder. $25 ages 13 and older, $15 ages 4-12, free ages 3 and under. bethsholom.org.
There will also be a pre-Passover women’s seder on March 18 at the Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington in Rockville that will feature a dinner prepared by cookbook author Joan Nathan. $45. benderjccgw.org.