An Indy Intergenerational Passover with the Katz Family

With Passover right around the corner, many Jewish families are looking forward to celebrating the holiday with traditional Seders. David and Abby Katz, and their two sons Benjamin and Joseph, are looking forward to celebrating with family, friends, and good food.

Passover for the Katzes’ has always been about gathering with family to celebrate the holiday of Jewish liberation and overcoming hardships.

“I think, in practice for us, it’s just another reason to congregate with family and celebrate family and closeness,” David said. “Both sets of my grandparents are [Holocaust] survivors, and the story of Passover is about Jewish survivorship, so for me personally, and probably for other members on my side of the family, that has a pretty significant part of it as well.”

Both David and Abby grew up in Indianapolis, and now get to share the tradition of celebrating Passover together with their families and their two sons.  

“We’re lucky in that our families are both in Indianapolis,” Abby said. “Our siblings, our parents, [David’s] grandparents, we have everybody here locally for holidays. It’s great that we can do both and we don’t have to choose. We both grew up in Indianapolis in the Jewish community, so it’s been so nice to do these things now with our children in the community that we grew up in.”

David’s grandmother’s seder plate

Jewish Community at the JCC

For both David and Abby, the JCC played a big role in fostering connection with the Jewish community in Indianapolis, particularly with regard to what the JCC stands for in terms of service to the Jewish community. Abby’s mom, Katy Cantor, is a past chair of the JCC, and David currently serves on the board of directors.

“[Abby’s] parents, in particular, have made service to the Jewish community a big part of their lives, and we wanted to follow in those footsteps,” David said. “Since [the JCC] is so significant to me, I decided to start that part of my journey with joining the board here.”

Today, the JCC is still a central part of the Katzes’ connection to the Jewish community. David and Abby both play tennis, and their sons are in swim lessons.

Celebrating with Friends

The Katzes’ idea of celebrating with family also extends into the community. Abby grew up celebrating Passover with family friends in the Indianapolis Jewish community, who have now become like family themselves.

“We celebrated our Jewish holidays with different families in the Jewish community,” Abby said. “Our tradition is that we get together with friends who have children who are around my age and my sister’s age. Now, for 35 years it’s the tradition to come together and now they’ve become like family. Now, we all have children, and our children know each other. At our seders, it’s all about tradition and family.”

Abby’s family’s seder and matzah plates

Food and Traditions

5 Honeycrisp apples (peeled, cored, rough chop)
1.5 cups walnuts
1/3 cup red wine
1.25 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp honey

Add all ingredients to food processor and pulse until desired chunkiness (which is chunky)

Make about 24 hours before serving to enhance flavor
Use a red wine that you will want to drink
The Katz family charoset recipe

At the Katzes’ Seders, tradition plays a big role – especially in the food that is served.

“We are really lucky in that we have so many amazing chefs in our family,” Abby said. “My mom is so great, and she’ll make charoset (a mixture of fruit and nuts used to represent mortar in the story of Passover) and brisket and a surprise dessert. We really look forward to the food. It’s huge, David is the same, he has amazing chefs on his side too.”

Along with the food, the Katz family also has the tradition of hiding the afikomen, a broken piece of matzah that is traditionally hidden, and then found after the Seder.

“My grandma has always made a big deal every year about the afikomen,” David said. “Now, it’s our kids who get excited about that. She hides it around her house, and they have a good time looking for it.”

The Katzes’ Passover traditions of family, friends, and good food are ones that are central to their celebrations of the holiday, no matter the year.

“The whole theme [of Passover] is an excuse for us to get together with our family, especially when it’s centered around Judaism and good food and good conversation,” Abby said. “We feel really lucky to have so many family and friends in this place.”

For more about Passover, visit the JCC’s Jewish Holidays webpage.