A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

Get daily updates delivered right to your inbox

PHOTOS: ‘The Passover Project’ is the musical seder sensation of the future

The Jewish Light’s first ever “The Passover Project: A Musical Seder” was a sold out masterpiece of creativity. With more than 300 tickets sold, the audience packed the City Winery St. Louis at the City Foundry in Midtown for a night of music, featuring an interactive, alternative seder like St. Louis had never seen before.

David Lazaroff — one of the front men of the band Brothers Lazaroff, along with his brother Jeff — and Rabbi James Stone Goodman, along with Light Editor-in-Chief Ellen Futterman, produced the show, which featured a who’s who of St. Louis-based artists including — Grammy-award winning jazz pianist Peter Martin; Robert Koritz, drummer for the acclaimed band Dark Star Orchestra; songstress Anita Jackson; guitarist singer-songwriter Joey Ferber; mandolin player extraordinaire David Goldenberg; Michael Tzinberg, who plays fiddle, banjo, guitar and mandolin; and Rebekah Scallet, artistic director of the New Jewish Theatre.

Photos from the night.

(All taken Bill Motchan)

How The Passover Project came to be

Roughly a year ago, on March 16 to be exact, Michael Dorf opened City Winery St. Louis, an entertainment venue, restaurant, winery and event space at the City Foundry in Midtown. When Futterman interviewed him at the time of the opening, she asked Dorf, who is Jewish and a Washington University graduate, about the annual Downtown Seder for Passover he has championed in New York City since 1991.

The Downtown Seder began at the legendary Knitting Factory, an avant-garde nightspot in N.Y.’s East Village that Dorf owned before opening the first City Winery, in New York City, in 2008. The seder typically takes place a week or so before Passover. As Dorf once explained to Tablet Magazine, “This (isn’t) really a substitute for someone’s home seder, but rather a supplement.”

Over the years, the N.Y. seder has featured musicians, actors, comedians and politicians, including Lou Reed, Dr. Ruth, Al Franken, Alex Edelman, Israeli musician David Broza, Modi, Judy Gold and New York Mayor Eric Adams, among others.

After all, there is more than one way to tell the age-old Passover story of Exodus — hundreds of versions of the Haggadah are out there — so why not reimagine the biblical narrative through the arts, Dorf reasoned.

Why not, indeed.

That got Futterman thinking: Why not borrow the idea and create a lively, fun, alternative Passover seder that brings the community together and highlights some of St. Louis’ abundant musical and theatrical talent. And why not have some of the proceeds go the benefit the Jewish Light.

Once she got the OK and a firm date from Dorf and City Winery to host the event, Futterman enlisted David and Jeff Lazaroff and Rabbi Goodman to help produce this music-filled, interactive, alternative seder.

“Rabbi Goodman had discussed the idea of a musical Passover event in the past, but not until Ellen Futterman approached us did we have the motivation to see what we could put together,” David Lazaroff said, adding that he and his brother wanted it to be very different from their annual Hanukkah Hullabaloo, which they have spearheaded for 13 years and counting.

“When Ellen approached us with this idea, we thought it would be a great chance to support the Jewish Light and help create a collaborative event for and with the community.”

All of the talent involved generously donated their time to help the Jewish Light with this “Friend Raiser” and shine a light on the importance of Jewish journalism and its future.




More to Discover
About the Contributors
Jordan Palmer
Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer
Jordan worked at KSDK from 1995 to 2020. Jordan is a three-time Emmy award winner who produced every kind of show from news to specials during his tenure, creating Show Me St. Louis, The Cardinal Nation Show. He started ksdk.com in 2001 and won three Edward R. Murrow Awards for journalistic and website excellence in 2010, 2014 and 2020. Jordan has been married for 25 years and is the father of two college students. He is an avid biker, snowboarder, and beer lover. He created the blog drink314.com, focusing on the St. Louis beer community in 2015. Jordan has an incredible and vast knowledge of useless information and is the grandson of a Cleveland bootlegger.
Bill Motchan, writer/photographer
Bill worked in corporate communications for AT&T for 28 years. He is a former columnist for St. Louis Magazine. Bill has been a contributing writer for the Jewish Light since 2015 and is a three-time winner of the Rockower Award for excellence in Jewish Journalism. He also is a staff writer for the travel magazine Show-Me Missouri. Bill grew up in University City. He now lives in Olivette with his wife and cat, Hobbes. He is an avid golfer and a fan of live music. He has attended the New Orleans Jazzfest 10 times and he has seen Jimmy Buffett in concert more t han 30 times between 1985 and 2023.