Koshersoul: The Faith and Food Journey of an African American Jew

The Jewish Community Relations Committee Social Justice Seder had been a community tradition for over 15 years. The event itself was brought here to Nashville by Avi Poster when he relocated from Chicago. Since then, Avi provided consistent inspiration, support, and encouragement for the event which is designed to build bridges and strengthen relationships between the Jewish community and friends and neighbors in the general community. By using his extraordinary and wide-reaching personal contacts, Avi was always at the center of the event, and it was through his dedication and commitment that the program expanded in reach and influence that continues today.

When we originally considered bringing Michael Twitty to be the special guest for our return to an in-person event this year, after three years of virtual programs, Avi was wholeheartedly supportive and excited for the event. Sadly, Avi will not be with us in person on March 30, but his memory lives on for all who knew him. As Keel Hunt wrote in his beautiful tribute to Avi’s memory, “Avi Poster was a man of big shoulders…who seemed to be everywhere. He was the kind of character you enjoyed meeting – and made you feel better about this city. He lived the welcoming spirit of Nashville.” We mourn the loss of Avi, and we will honor and remember his impact and tireless efforts to promote kindness, compassion, and justice at the event March 30.

Our special guest for the JCRC Seder, Michael Twitty, a culinary historian and food writer living in Fredericksburg, Virginia. HarperCollins released Twitty’s “The Cooking Gene,” in 2017, tracing his ancestry through food from Africa to America and from slavery to freedom, “The Cooking Gene” won the 2018 James Beard Award for best writing as well as book of the year, making him the first Black author so awarded. “KosherSoul,” his follow-up book, was published in August 2022 through HarperCollins and received the 2022 National Jewish Book Award. Michael can also be found on MasterClass online, where he teaches Tracing Your Roots Through Food and he served as a historical consultant on the FX adaptation of Octavia Butler's "Kindred."

We have over 300 people registered for the event representing many groups within the community including Vanderbilt University, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Nashville Public Television, Nashville Public Radio, Metro Government, Metro Nashville Police Department, NICE Refugee Services, Our Place, Brentwood High School, and University School of Nashville.

The overwhelming interest in the Seder this year is a testament to the outreach efforts of event chairs, Rachel and Marcus Whitney, and to all our table hosts who inviting specific community contacts from many corners of our area to join us: Harold Benus, Erin Coleman, LeBron Hill and Lilyfish Gomberg, Rebecca and Eric Kadura, Pam and Shaul Kelner, Hayley and Jacob Kupin, Debbie Linn, Bobbi Lipschutz,

Rabbi Shayna Mackler, Rae Oleshansky, John Jivens and Sheri Rosenberg, Freya Sachs, Judy Saks, Mary Shelton, Jason Shuster, Ricki and Barry Sokol. Patti and Jerry Stelmaszak, Anna Stern, Irwin Venick, Christie and Titus Weimers

Public registration for the Seder has closed. Please message Deborah Oleshansky, to be added to the waiting list.


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