Susan Alexandra Hosts The Sweetest Seder In Town

Inside the designer's Tribeca passover with the Jewish Food Society.

By Megan O'Sullivan

Photos by Emma Cheshire


On Tueday night in Tribeca, the aroma from a Mexican motzo ball soup wafted through the loft where Susan Alexandra hosted Passover Seder. In true Susan form, she filled the room with two long tables of friends and family — if you've been to any of Susan's events, you know hosting a gathering is what she does best.

Together with the Jewish Food Society, Susan and chefs Fany Gerson, Sasha Shor, and Rinat Tzadok curated a global Passover meal (and a hand-drawn menu to go with it). Dishes included pomegranate braised short ribs and sour pickle beet salad. There were pickle cocktails and Seder plates too, of course. For Susan, sharing this holiday with her community is just as much about inclusiveness as it is tradition.

"Last year, we launched a Passover collection and I hosted a seder with the Jewish Food Society to celebrate. It was a hit, and this is coming from a person who doesn't generally feel good about anything I do," says Susan. "Growing up, seders were these nightmarish events that felt like an eternity of prayers before the food was served, it wasn't 'fun' or inspiring. It's interesting to shift the perspective on this as an adult who can make the decisions about how traditions should be interpreted. This is that!"

For Naama, the founder of the Jewish Food Society, the purpose and meaning behind this particular evening is also personal. "When I moved to NYC I sought out ways to connect with my Jewish identity that wasn’t religious. I shifted my professional artistic lens from filmmaking to food and I started curating culinary events like communal seders, a conference about gefilte fish and an Iraqi-Jewish pop-up restaurant," Naama shares. "I found that through these events I could connect to my heritage and help others, Jewish and people from different backgrounds - to learn and connect with diverse Jewish culture."

The evening is also about family. At last year's Seder with the Jewish Food Society, Susan recalls a memory that she'll carry with her always. "Last year, my dad came to seder and joined in on the dance party. That's one of my favorite moments," she shares. "Also leaving that seder with a quart container of leftover chopped liver was pretty dreamy!"

The themes of familly and food are also highlights for Naama. At last week's Seder, the recipes were taken from the Jewish Food Society's recent book, The Jewish Holiday Table — a book that is keeping heritage traditions alive and well. "Our chefs contributed their family recipes to the book and it was such a thrill to share their talent with all of the guests," she says. "Matzo ball a la Mexicana, Spicy Moroccan fish and dirty horseradish martinis - all in one menu! Singing, eating, dancing, reading and being in community was more important than ever!

Reflecting on her ability to gather community, particularly around Jewish holidays, Susan says it's really just a product of an organic pull to bring people together more. "The older I get, the less energy I have to nurture relationships in the way I once did," she says. "I think genuinely holding space and being present for people you are with is something I try to put into every interaction I have. I've been in NYC, out and about for nearly 16 years, so I've met a lot of people from different walks of life!"

As for highlights of the evening, the Mexican motzo ball soup was a unanimous favorite. And the best overheard lines at the evening? According to Susan, the belle of the ball, it was "I have some good gossip for you," and, "Where's your dad?"

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