Passover Gets Political

city winery seder chitribe

Passover Gets Political: City Winery Presents The Downtown Seder in Chicago

This is not your typical Bubbe and Zayde Seder. City Winery brings together performers, politicians, and local leaders making real change in the world.  Each year, we are commanded to tell this ancient story in a language that we understand. 


The Downtown Seder tells the passover story through language of the arts. Inspired by the liberal Milwaukee seders of his youth, Michael Dorf crafts takes many liberties and does not follow the traditional order at all. Since keeping 300 people (Jewish or not) waiting to eat is not wise in the hospitality business, the food and wine are pushed to the beginning of show. Also, there was actual edible Matzo provided by the Matzo project and many more than four cups of delicious wine. 


Introduction – Michael Dorf

city winery downtown seder chitribe

Host of the night, Michael Dorf was clear from the start: No form of hate is acceptable. This seder is a space to remind ourself that vulnerable minorities in this country are safer and stronger when we stand together. This modern take on an ancient dinner aims to inspire all of us to create sanctuary and unity to our fellow humans on this small planet. 

Passover transcends all religion and it can be a tool for all because freedom is at the core of the story. 

Take note of his Matzo Vest. It is epic. 

Candle Lighting Peace Blessing – Rabbi Rachel Weiss 

Rachel Weiss is the first Female and openly Gay Rabbi at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston. Her blessing over the candles was unique and truly enlightened. 

“Every Jewish holiday begins in the dark. We start every holiday from a place recognizing that we have more to understand and celebrate. We are a people and a religion, not just of faith but of action. It requires us to strike the match. It requires us to light the candles, to light the flames, and to shine the light in the world. Passover is a holiday about power. Who has power. Who doesn’t have power. Who is still oppressed. And who has been overcome by the power they have that they have forgotten what it was like to be a slave.

When we light candles, we commit that the light has to start with us and can be as small as a match.  We remind ourselves that there are ways we are still in the dark.

Tonight we take action.”


First Glass of Wine

Since VIPs Laurie Lightfood and Ram Emanuel both could not make this event, Michael Dorf led the prayer. 

Karpas and Cartoons: Spring Dip – Ken Krimstein

Cartoonist Ken Krimstein, featured on asked us all why this KNIGHT was different than all others. 

Ken explained that Passover is a holiday practically invented for cartoonists, full of roasted bones and weird food and uncles with hair coming out of their ears. 

ken krimstein cartoon chitribe city winery

Why is this Knight different? by Ken Krimstein

Afikoman Stand Up with – Naomi Spungen

Former Jewish Person of the Week and self proclaimed “expert on all things Judaism and local comedian, producer, and writer Naomi Spungen is the Afikoman of the show. We Jews need  a minute to laugh before we confront and reflect on injustice and oppression of our story and the stories of vulnerable minorities in America. 


The Meaning of Matzah – Lynne Jordan

city winery downtown seder chitribe

Bitter Herbs – TJ Shanoff

2nd Kiddush- Maggie Brown

Four Questions Congressman – Jerry Nadler Video

city winery downtown seder chitribe

Exodus – Rich Jones

city winery downtown seder chitribe

Telling Maggid – David Broza

city winery downtown seder chitribe

More Maggid  – Chicago Gay Men’s Choir

city winery downtown seder chitribe

The 4 Children – Mary Dixon

Ten Plagues – Lewis Black Video

Dayyenu – Aaron Freeman

3rd Kiddush – Michael McDermott

Miriam’s Cup – Sanda Antongiorgi

Elijah + Fourth Cup – Corky Siegel on the Harmonica

It is most difficult to believe that all electric sounds produced on stage were just from a harmonica.  Corky redefined the instrument for everyone in the audience. 



Everything Passover from seders to shopping on the Passover Guide

Find all the Passover 2019 food and events and more on ChiTribe’s Event Calendar

Rebecca Schwab

Rebecca Schwab

Rebecca creates best practices and executes marketing campaigns for Jewish organizations who are trying to reach the next generation of the Jewish community - specifically Millennials and Gen Z - through digital marketing, social media, online and in-person events.