Remember Topel singing of Jewish tradition as he portrayed Tevye the Dairyman in “Fiddler on the Roof?” That was 1966, in the Israeli production of Fiddler.
At that same time, Karen Chriqui’s family (her maiden name is Kohn) was involved here in the traditions of Cincinnati’s Jewish community. Such involvement has special relevance now, she says, as Rosh Hashanah approaches and Kinneret Grill prepares to help families within the community celebrate the Jewish New Year.
“This is a Jewish-run business with deep roots in the Cincinnati Jewish community,” she said, speaking of the restaurant and its catering service, which she and husband Avner own and operate. “I want people to know about all this, because as a result of being involved, we have a much more personal and intimate connection with the food we prepare and the traditions behind the food. So, when Jewish families want catered items for their celebrations of the new year (Sept. 29-Oct. 1), we are ready to help with an entree or the whole meal.”
Expanding on her connection to the Jewish community here, she said: “I grew up in Cincinnati, and my uncle was a rabbi at Rockdale Temple in the 1960s. One of my uncles and two of my cousins went to (Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion), so we have a long history here; a long involvement with the Jewish community of Cincinnati.
“Personally, I went to Israel, where I became more orthodox and learned more about the traditions and history of the Jewish experience. And my husband is from Casablanca, Morocco, so we are two different cultures and traditions merged here,” she said.
The point of all this family history and background is that Kinneret Grill’s owners are uniquely positioned to serve the Jewish community of Cincinnati, having touched so many facets of the Jewish experience in living their faith. That rich connection is a factor that Jewish families may wish to consider when thinking about catering for their holiday or special-occasion dining.
At no time is the connection stronger than at Rosh Hashanah and other holidays, Chriqui said, when people cater part, or all, of their celebratory meal.
“This is a family-centric holiday, a new year, a time for renewal and for festive dining,” she said. “Many times, people prepare some foods from old family recipes, grandma’s chicken soup or something. But they don’t do everything, so they order the honey cake or the tzimmes or the brisket or whatever they’re having to celebrate the new year. And of course, we are ready to help with all of that, and not just those who practice kosher.”
Chriqui made the point that Kinneret Grill is the only restaurant in this area, or even this region of the country, that is so strongly linked to the Jewish experience through the foods prepared in its kitchen.
“People have symbolic items on their tables for this holiday, and we know what they are and how to prepare them,” she said. “Honey cake is a good example, but we offer sweet glazed salmon with a pomegranate glaze, and Israeli chicken schnitzel and other items that are traditional.”
Chriqui mentioned jeweled rice with cranberries and raisins, noodle and potato kugel, roast chicken, matzo ball soup, complete brisket dinners, and more, all available for the holidays.
“We have a special catering menu that they can choose from,” she said, emphasizing that catering customers are able to pick and choose from items that Jewish families favor.
“All the traditions of Rosh Hashanah are part of our experience too. The desire to wish a sweet new year to everybody, which is why the honey cake and the dates and all of that. The 613 good deeds you can do and the pomegranate with 613 seeds in it (amazing!). Eating the head of the fish; all these symbolic traditions are part of the celebration at this new beginning and new year,” she said.
In the final analysis, Jewish households celebrating this High Holy Day have choices where catered food is concerned. Chriqui’s estimation, which seems accurate to me, is that Kinneret Grill is the only local choice steeped in the tradition and history of the celebration being planned.
See you at Kinneret Grill!
Dillonvale Shopping Center
4068 E Galbraith Road,
Cincinnati, OH 45236