Jewish caterers in town are experiencing last-minute orders for less people.

Of all the Jewish holidays on the calendar, Passover is traditionally a time for large, multigenerational family gatherings. This year mandated social distancing limits our ability to celebrate together. Large seders have been canceled. Small ones will be even smaller.

Further, many people are reluctant to go grocery shopping or too overwhelmed to adequately prepare for Passover.

In a time where all event catering has come to a halt, kosher caterers have a unique opportunity to offer their services with Passover menus. However, two weeks before Passover starts, it was unclear whether the community would turn to catering to the extent it has in the past.

Paul Wertz, of Dish Kosher Cuisine in Congregation Beth Ahm in West Bloomfield, noticed the volume of orders is consistent with last year, except that now there are more orders for fewer people per order.

“It’s a unique time to stay open,” said Daniel Kohn of Quality Kosher Catering at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield. He considered not offering a Passover menu this year, but decided to keep up the 40-year company tradition.

With so many businesses forced to shut down or scale back, the economic toll of COVID-19 is affecting a broad cross-section of our community.

To help customers offset the costs, Kohn offered some discounts.

Kohn and Cari Herskovitz of Chef Cari Kosher Catering at Congregation B’nai Moshe in West Bloomfield reported hundreds of orders already placed near the end of March. However, both said they couldn’t speculate how their final totals would measure up to years past because most orders come in at the last minute.

Based on previous patterns, between 75-80% of orders are placed days before the March 30 ordering deadline, Kohn said. Wertz said 99% of his orders come in at the last minute.

“It’s hard to compare the numbers at this point,” Herskovitz said. “All the big seders are canceled, but we are getting a lot of orders. I’m hoping it balances out.” She hoped to help those used to going elsewhere and now are preparing their first seders. “Just making a seder plate can be overwhelming.”

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