9.9.16 Issue

Annette van de Kamp-Wright, Editor of the Jewish Press

In 2015, Danny Cohn and Andrew Miller moved to Omaha from Chicago so they could raise their daughter Nora in the Omaha Jewish community.

“I grew up here,” Danny said, “and Andrew and I were married here 10 years ago this November. Our daughter Nora is eighth generation Omaha Jew, so it only made sense that Andrew and I would chair the dinner party that had been 160 years in the making.”

Wait; what dinner party?

“It’s called FED, and it’s an underground dining experience,” Andrew said. “We don’t believe an event like this has ever taken place in Jewish Omaha. We’re saying it has been ‘160 years in the making’ because160 years ago, the first Jews arrived in Omaha after making passage across the Missouri River. FED celebrates the accomplishment of the Jewish community and the Jewish Federation of Omaha and its agencies, and will help propel a new generation of philanthropists.”

Underground dining is a concept that is popping up all over the country, and thanks to Andrew and Danny, it is coming to an –as of yet– undisclosed location near you Saturday, Nov. 5 at 8 p.m.

“The first FED event took place last fall in Kansas City,” Danny said. “FED, a pop-up dinner event designed to engage the next generation of members and leaders of the local Jewish community, will intertwine food, community and philanthropy.” What’s not to like?

“The event was modeled as a sort of modern supper club offering pop-up dinners in unexpected spaces, but it was also a fundraiser benefiting the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City’s annual campaign.”

Community members can expect an invitation with registration information in late September; RSVPs are due by Oct. 28.

“We want to dispel the myth of the rubber chicken dinner,” Andrew said, “and bring the community something that they would want to attend regardless of whether it supported the Federation. Underground dinner parties are happening across the country. We think the fact that we are going to hold it in a space that has limited accessibility to the general public coupled with the fact of famous locally-based chefs who are cooking Kosher specifically for this event, makes it pretty darn cool.”

The menu, as of now, remains a secret, but the event will be meat and Kosher under the supervision of Rabbi Steven Abraham of Beth El Synagogue.

Danny calls it “A modern twist on Jewish comfort offering both meat and parve kosher – the menu will be announced at the end of September.”

Andrew and Danny are excited about this event:

“We are huge foodies. Everything about the way we live is centered around our dining room table. In the 14 years we have been together, we have hosted more than 150 dinner parties – food is part of our DNA,” they said. “Until we moved to Omaha, Andrew was in the food business – his first job was selling Kosher Frozen Food for Ratners and KingKold and his family has owned a restaurant in Denver for three decades.  Now in Omaha, Andrew has joined the team of the new Swartz’s Deli.”

So they combined the two things they are passionate about: food and philanthropy, added a dash of inspiration from Kansas City and the event was born.

“My mom Pam chaired a community Yom Haatzmaut event in the early 1980s,” Danny said. “I saw then and there the importance of making sure the success of the Jewish community events come from within.”

“We are also eager to show the community what our take on a Jewish Federation event is – we have lived and been active in the Federations in both Cincinnati (where Danny chaired Ben Gurion) and Chicago, so we feel that we bring a unique perspective.,” Andrew added.

“In the end, we want the attendees to feel like they were coming to our house for dinner – the camaraderie is just as important as the food.”

Alan Potash, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Omaha and another self-proclaimed foodie said, “It is so exciting to have returnees to Omaha take a leadership role with this innovative programming.  I can’t wait to be a part of Danny and Andrew’s plan for the evening.”

The FED event will be open to the entire Jewish community, with an emphasis on late 20s to early 50s. Cost is $50 per person. Watch your inbox for a dinner you won’t want to miss! To join the committee, to obtain more information or to serve as an event host with your name on the invitation, contact dannycohn@gmail.com.  Event hosts commit to attending and bringing one other couple.