NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Friday marks the beginning of Passover, an eight-day celebration to commemorate the Jewish exodus from Egyptian slavery.
At the Hebrew Home in Riverdale the Passover feast, known as the Seder will be one of the largest in the city.
“Usually I had 40 people at my Seders,” Ellen Carter of the Hebrew Home said.
Tonight at the Hebrew Home in Riverdale, Carter and her fellow residents will celebrate the first night of Passover with a much larger crowd.
“We will be serving over a thousand people a completely traditional kosher Passover Seder,” Hebrew Home CEO Daniel Reingold said.
The best part for Ellen…
“I didn’t have to clean the house. I didn’t have to do the cooking.”
Kitchen supervisor James Iatrou is taking care of that.
“We’re going to have a prime rib, some fresh grilled asparagus, home-made potato croquets, matzo ball, traditional gefilte fish, and a nice forest cake.”
Planning for this holiday feast started about two weeks ago.
“Creating a Seder for a thousand people starts with making a kosher kitchen; which means moving every single utensil out of our kitchen and bringing in completely new dishes and pots and pans,” Reingold explained.
Then there are the traditional foods that everyone looks forward to.
Enough specialty dry goods to fill a trailer, with 55 cases of matzo, 75 cases of macaroons, and 20 gallons of horseradish to accompany the gefilte fish.
“The Seder this evening, it’s usually a very lovely affair… with an extra treat for this night,” resident Zelda Fassler said.
“Wine is very good… I get permission from the doctor – it’s Passover I’m allowed.”
Just because they’re expecting the largest crowd ever for a Seder in this city, doesn’t mean that any of the traditions are being overlooked.
“One of the challenges for us is that it is required that the youngest person ask the four questions and in our case that person might be 85 years old,” Reingold added.
If serving a traditional Passover meal for a thousand people wasn’t challenging enough, the kitchen still has to turn out meals for residents, many of whom have special dietary considerations too.