It was a joy to be able to finally have a communal seder, this was the first following interruptions due to Covid 19!
The last Beth Shalom communal seder was led by Laurie and his team in 2019. Laurie was kind enough to share his experience with the new Seder team, led by Anne and Aurore. The new team also wanted to try out new ideas. We had originally planned for up to 80 tickets to be sold but we were delighted and somewhat overwhelmed when the numbers reached 100, which we now know is certainly our practical seating limit!
Planning, preparations, shopping – including trips to Kosher Kingdom – started weeks in advance. This year, we decided to buy cotton tablecloth, additional China plates and glasses which the team saw as more sustainable than disposable items.
Most guests arrived in good time, however, the beginning of the Seder was delayed for the best of reasons, namely that this was clearly a communal social event. As can be seen from the photographs, the prayer hall looked absolutely fantastic, with blue tablecloth, multiple seder plates and flowers ready for the Seder.
Mike and Sheila started the reading of the Haggadah. It was clear that this was going to be a noisy and joyous event with all present participating. Once we had crossed through the Red Sea and Miriam had played her timbrel, it was time to eat.
This was a real Passover feast and special thanks go to Anne and her team of chefs – Denise, Jools, Maria and Valerie. Traditional favourites were there including Laurie’s gefilte fish, Valerie’s chocolate mousse and Denise’s coconut pyramids, macaroons and cinnamon balls. We also enjoyed new and exotic recipes including Anne’s vegetable meguina and her red cabbage salad with nuts and oranges, Maria’s Moroccan style salmon and Jool’s quinoa and her Moroccan grated carrot salad.
David and Peter acted as sommeliers and wine waiters whilst James, Benji, Shally and Yulia did an extraordinary job serving everyone in good time and clearing the tables after each course. In the kitchen, Irek and the rest of the team were busy clearing and washing.
After the meal finished, Sheila and Mike continued with the singing of traditional Pesach songs, which were enthusiastically sang by all who were there. All agreed that it was a fantastic evening.