A beautiful blonde on a sun-baked island and the commemoration of the Jewish exodus from Egypt make for an incongruous pairing – but not for Caprice Bourret.
On Saturday, the supermodel-turned-businesswoman will host a group of around 40 people in Ibiza for the second night seder, including some she has never met before.
While the logistics are yet to be worked out, Caprice, who is renovating a home on the north side of the island, is very excited to throw out a welcome to guests who might not otherwise attend a seder. Her plan is to hire a restaurant – perhaps one run by Israelis – or an event space on the largest of the Balearic Islands.
“The island has about 250-300 Jews; it’s quite a big community for such a small island, but a lot of people out there aren’t shomer Shabbat, and they aren’t particularly religious,” she tells me.
“I want to do something to make seder fun, so they look forward to it, and not make it
a four-hour experience, otherwise I’ll lose people because they’ve never done it before.”
Caprice has been in touch with Ibiza Chabad’s Rabbi Mendel Baitz, who will host a more traditional – and longer – seder, whereas she says: “I’m going to do the things that are absolutely necessary according to Halacha, but I’m going to shorten things.
“You have to remember what is a mitzvah. What do you have to do for it to be a mitzvah for Pesach? You need the four cups of wine, you have to ask the four questions… you have to do the 15 steps, which we’ll do,” she says.
Caprice’s guests will include her four-year-old sons, Jett and Jax, with her partner
Ty Comfort, members of his family, her mother, Valerie, and friends of the couple who live in Ibiza.
Ty and his family are not Jewish, and while Ty has celebrated Pesach with Caprice every year since they got together in 2011, this will be his family’s first seder experience.
What do you think they’ll make of it, I ask. She goes quiet for a moment and then laughs: “Oh dear! I don’t know!”
Her sons, however, who attend cheder at the Chabad-run Village Shul in Hampstead, will be able to understand some of what is going on.
“They go to shiurs on Sundays and they’re at the age when they’re taking things in.
It’ll mean something to them, and therefore it’ll mean more to me,” she affirms. “It’s important for the children.”
The family will use a Haggadah “for beginners” and Caprice is excited about setting the table scene. “I’m going to Kosher Kingdom to get stocked up, and will bring a massive, massive suitcase stocked full of supplies.
“I’m going to have blue mesh to represent the sea, a whole bunch of my boys’ plastic people to represent the exodus story and I’m looking to buy a beard to represent Elijah. I’m going to make it animated, we’re going to act things out. I want the kids and my guests to have fun.”
Becoming shomer Shabbat in her teens, Caprice now admits that she found some religious traditions less than inspiring. “A lot of the seders growing up, I always thought it was a chore, like ‘oh my goodness, here goes four hours of let’s go to sleep!’”
While modelling and travelling – Caprice has been the cover star of more than 300 magazines worldwide and now owns her By Caprice lingerie and bedding ranges –
she lost touch with her Judaism to a certain extent. She credits Chabad with reconnecting her to her roots and with making the religion more spiritually interesting.
“Chabad is kind of like that – it dives more into the spiritual level and I think that’s why
I like it so much,” she says. “Chabad has brought me back and I go to shul, occasionally – which I’d never done before. I’ve gone to shul on my own if the boys didn’t want to and it resonates with me.”
She took a study lesson with Rebbetzin Devorah Leah to find out more about Pesach and the seder, and adds: “I want it to have meaning – to get rid of egos, go back to humility, get rid of some of the bad habits. This is a different approach and it makes it more interesting. It’s still tradition, but also with the spiritual meaning behind it.
“I want it to be a fun holiday, and it’s nice that we do the whole story, but I want to know, how does it pertain to our life? I want people to be able to relate to the whole seder experience a little more, and for it to have meaning.
“Let’s take a look within and make ourselves better … this is what seder’s about. I want people to come out and say, ‘Wow, that was one of the best seders I’ve ever had – that was really interesting.’”
Lest she sound too earnest, Caprice, who last year had surgery to remove a brain tumour (and still managed to do a massive house clean ahead of Pesach), is up for
“The year before last, I went to my friend’s house for seder and I got wasted because they had so much wine in the cups!” she exclaims. “This time we’re going to have wine and grape juice!”
I ask if she eats matzah for the whole eight days and she says yes. Any bread? “No chance – it’s a great diet! I shouldn’t say that…but it gives me a great excuse to keep off the carbs!”