By Liz Pulver and Jennifer Corr
LAKE GROVE,NY– The only Kosher restaurant in Suffolk County open during Passover week, is now offering catering and takeout for Kosher-for-Passover meals.
North Shore Jewish Center teamed up with Zan’s Kosher Deli to make the Kosher-for-Passover food. The food is served during the first two nights of Passover in ceremonial Seder Dinners, a feast commemorating the anniversary of the Jews exodus from Egyptian slavery. Previously, members of the Jewish center were getting their meals from Nassau County, which is almost an hour away from their community of Port Jefferson Station.
“It would certainly be better if there were more options for Kosher-for-Passover food in Suffolk County,” Rabbi Aaron Benson from North Shore Jewish Center said. “There are many rules and regulations for making that work but certainly more, and easier, options for getting food would be most welcome.”
The only other kosher deli in Suffolk County is in Commack, but it only serves Passover themed food and is closed during Passover week.
“For Passover [food is] cleaned and prepared ritually for all the special restrictions and regulations that go into the holiday,” Rabbi Benson said. “Once it had been readied in that manner the people from Zan’s were able to come here and make all the Passover food.”
All the food was made in a Kosher-for-Passover kitchen at the Jewish center under strict supervision of Rabbi Jonathan Waxman and Benson, according to a press release.
“Traditionally what we do is we have appetizers of gefilte fish and chopped liver or miniature stuffed cabbage, soup and matzo balls,” Pat Ruggiero, a cook at Zan’s Kosher Deli, said. “Then the main dishes are either turkey brisket or chicken or a variety of both or three.”
In addition to the North Shore Jewish Center, Zan’s catered to Temple Adas Israel and Jews Without Walls.
“I guess it was fine,” Beth Finger, the founder of Jews Without Walls, said of Zan’s service.
The Kosher deli also hosted its very first Seder dinner that was attended by 50 people.
“It was very spiritual and we had a lot of fun,” Rabbi Altman, who officiated the Seder at the deli, said. “The people who were there enjoyed the Seder [ceremony], which took about an hour before we ate and the food there was delicious.”
It was a busy week for the Kosher deli, which had people coming in all week to prepare for Passover. The proximity of the Passover and Easter bumped up business for Zan’s as well. On Friday, Mar. 30, the deli received over 100 orders alone. Among the customers was Mishalle Berger, who was picking up chopped liver for a Seder dinner at her sister-in-laws home.
“Well I’ve spent the day calling friends and…reaching out to people who I don’t speak to everyday,” Berger said. “It’s really one of my favorite pieces of the holiday, reconnecting with everybody and sharing this communal experience. Coming here is just another piece of it.”
Passover lasts eight days for Jews outside of Israel, this year ending on Saturday, April.7. During the week of Passover, leavened or fermented grain food products, called chametz, are prohibited. These products include crackers, breads, pastas, pastries,etc.
“What some people have told me is they’ll do brisket on the first night and they will do turkey on the second,” Lisa Giosi, a manager at Zan’s Kosher Deli, said. “Some people have their traditions for each night to keep everyone happy with the different menus.”