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passover programs 2013

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Does anyone have any experience with the following passover programs and their associated hotels.

A. Afikoman Tours at the Ravella Resort Lake Las Vegas.
B. Worldwide Kosher Tours at the Westin Lake Las Vegas
and at the Riviera Resort and Spa in Palm Springs CA.
C. Five Star Kosher Tours at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort and Casino.
D. Club Kosher at the Grand Melia in San Juan Puerto Rico.

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  1. Also looking for a review of the Sheraton on the Falls Passover Program in Niagara Falls, Canada. Thanks!

    1 Reply
    1. re: sbg1818

      I'm friends with the director of that program (Upscale Getaways) and I heard that this year they're having two Pesach programs - one in Niagara Falls and another one at the Dolce Resort in Connecticut.

    2. Any experience with Fountainebleau in Miami? Any other programs recommended in Miami? We went to JW Marriott (which then cancelled so we went to Fairmont Mayakoba) but kids want to be in Miami....

      1 Reply
      1. re: rebecca6438

        I was at the Holiday Inn/Days Inn by MLM kosher tours http://www.mlmkoshertours.com/ in Miami, right by the Fountainebleau. it was terrible. The food was disgusting, it was very disorganized and the hotel was gross. but i guess you get what you pay for. I have heard really good things about the Fountainebleau, they seem to have a pretty solid program, but more expensive than others.

      2. We have done Club kosher 4 times I believe. They were all phenomenal. They were the best vacations we ever went on.

        1 Reply
        1. re: janetldd

          really? was at gran melia last yr the food and service were TERRIBLE, the resort was ok but i wouldnt go back bec of the program. they basically served leftovers the entire yuntif and nickel and dimed u on everything to the extent that they wouldnt put bottles of soda on the tables but u had to go up to a bar and ask for a cup of soda every time u wanted something to drink--same thing w the wine and grape juice. the food was horrible, the same thing every night for 7 days straight and there was never enough food, dinner would start at 8 the kitchen would run out of food by 830.

        2. Anyone ever hear of Philip and Dayna Klitzner? they are doing a Hawaiian Pesach http://www.hawaiianpesach.com/
          apparently they did two Pesach programs at the Doral Resort and Spa in Miami, Florida. anyone know if they are any good?

          1 Reply
          1. re: ELC7676

            Was not at the program but didn't hear anything negative. I have been to a few events that they did in Seattle (they are the only decent game in town) and I have had nothing but good experiences with the affairs. From talking to my contacts in Seattle I know that they have been researching this for a while because they want to do it the right way. sadly, too far from the East Coast

          2. We went on two passover programs run by worldwide koshers. Both were in California. One years was not so great and the next time it was fantastic. As with many Passover programs you cannot always predict how good a program will be, foodwise, based on past experiences or even on the reputation of the program organizers. This applies to most programs.

            1. Does anyone have any experience with the Passover program in the Pocono Manor hotel? I believe the Mandel family is running the program.

              1. So we just got back from Passover in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with Organization Hafikoman (Organización Hafikoman). The Program is run by a Beny and Lety Zlochisty and this was actually their 13 year running the program. we actually took a huge chance going on this program because we couldn't find any reviews online for anything and the only other program we were familiar with was Club Kosher in Puerto Rico at the Gran Melia ( we went there passover 2012)

                Beny and Lety are both amazing people and their program is simply outstanding. I would recommend this program to anyone in a heart beat...no questions asked.

                First off, The resort was very nice. The service was impecable. I lost my sunglasses and one of he waiters held them for me till the following day. Anything anyone needed, there were constant servers standing nearby to service you. They were always quick and on point. majority of the waiters and servers had a basic understanding of english and they were all extremely helpful and kind. Really, I can't stress how amazing the service was!! They were just available to you whole heartedly. Moreover, The resorts staff was also very gracious and caring. Towels were replaced daily and more than once a day by the pool. I really have zero negatives in terms of service.

                The Food! WHERE TO START! A-MA-ZING!!!!!!! everything was great. Breakfast was redundant but there was always so many options. Tasty and delicious pancakes served daily.Waffles to die for. Trust me you would never know they were strictly passover. They were so dilectable you couldn't help but go up for more. All types of platters of cheeses, fruits, vegetables. NON STOP GUACAMOLE!!! SOOO GOOD! Eggs made to order every morning. The tables were always plentiful and things were constantly coming out. You didn't feel like you had to run for breakfast (or any meal) just to eat. There was always enough food for everyone...AND MORE!

                Lunch....my mom is lebanese and we always joked that we would be eating kibbeh while away. NO JOKE, THERE WAS KIBBEH! it was PERFECT! Everyday lunch was different. One afternoon and one night we had mexican taco's. OH MY G-D!! the tacos were amazing. you would never know they were passover tacos. They had lettuce wraps for those who are health concious or simply healthy. Allt he meats and chickens were delicious. I wont tell you that there weren't cold cuts served but NEVER were there only cold cuts. There was always MEALS...like really really really delicious meals available at all times. They cut no corners.

                Dinner.....Sedar nights were outstanding. Steaks were always well cooked (although sometimes over salted) still delicious and cooked fork tender. Two nights we had dinner ON THE BEACH.....it was beautiful. every night decorations were put up to brighten up the room. lights, center pieces, the whole nine yards. They really gave you that grand feeling. There wasn't a single meal I went to ( or anyone else of the 7 families I went with) that could complain about the food at ANY meal. Food was consistantly delcious and exciting and neevr repetative!

                Desserts...PLETHERA AT ALL TIMES! I don't know where to begin. usually passover desserts tend to suck. lets be honest. They're often bland, they lack flavor, and they taste like you're eating chaulk. NOT THIS YEAR. I would eat these desserts year round. Some of the best sweets i've ever had. literally cleared my plate every time. The martzipan was scrumptious. my family couldn't stop eating them. In hebrew we say it was in "Sheffa," meaning abundant. AT ALL TIMES!! and you couldn't help but try and eat everything! you literally have to lick your fingers clean by the end. Granted, I'm almost certain that the deserts were done by a third party.Still, it doesn't matter who makes them, they were DELICIOUS!!!

                Events....every night amazed me more then the previous. I remember one night as i was walking back to the room, I heard this loud sound int he main hall. I walked over and there was a huge room wioth multiple coffee tables and sofas set up with lights and a huge stage...a DJ!!! and an actual live rock band. All of this was set up for the kids. They were going crazy. I literally felt like I was at a night club. AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING! another night they had pinatas for the kids. They were huge (one dora and one spider man). The kids went wild. One afternoon, they literally brought animals for the kids to play with. There were ponys for them to ride and horses. Chickens and turkeys for them to feed. It was crazy! We were all in shock. Everyday there was activities for the kids to do. There was never a boring day.

                I would tell everyone to JUMP on the opportunity to go on this program. I think its affordable and they really cut NO corners. They invest so much time and effort to making the program unforgettable. They care that you have an outstanding time, they don't want you to feel constraint by the holiday but they still give you that feeling of home away from home. People were constantly smiling, the crowd was outstanding, the service was impecable and the food was delicious. a true 10/10 in every aspect. I know some that are reading this are wondering if its too good to be true. It's not. It's possible. Trust me go on this program and youll see what im talking about. their work is impressive and they're really good at what they do.

                The only downside was the flights. we had connecting both ways from new york to PVR and back. if you could book direct. do it!

                If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to ask away. aside from that, I recommend Puerto Vallarta for Passover 2014.

                2 Replies
                1. re: IsaacE

                  What is the level of religiosity of the crowd? We swim on the yom tovim. Also is it big groups, or would a small family of four that didn't know anyone feel comfortable? thank so much.

                2. Now that 2013 passover has come and gone, it behooves anyone who went to a hotel to comment on their experiences. If you had a good time and food was great, say it. If the experience was not so great, say it. People spend a lot of money going to Passover programs and if the program was substandard we are obligated to protect people and let them know

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: Elliotu

                      We spent another beautiful Pesach at Ocean Place Resort by Matza Fun Tours. This was our second year there for the whole Pesach, it was quite nice to be there for the whole yom tov. The food was quite good, presentation imaginative quality excellent and quantity never ending. The food at fleishig meals ranged from veal to duck to rib steak to lamb, with a few choices at every meal. There was hot food galore at the tea room at night . I loved the buffets for breakfast and lunch, with eggs, in the form of omelets, shakshuka, scrambled etc, French toast, pancakes , smoked fish , muffins that you would think were chometz if you did not know better and more. Lunch buffets consisted of fish, omelets, paninis, pasta, various vegetables, Portobello mushrooms,salads and more. The crowd was friendly. I hardly saw my fourteen year old between meals. He made a great group of friends. What a great easy going Pesach.

                    2. Can't respond about the above mentioned programs, however, one to think twice about would be the Smilow family @ the Bonaventure. The resort is lovely, however, there were major gaps in the level of service. My parents were there for the full week, and were shocked at the number of buffets ( not fun when you are elderly and have to contend with rude pushy people ) , the quality of the food ( few healthy options , lots of fried & heavy food, inedible meat, and lots of repetition). In addition, they paid tips in advance and their waiter said he had never received tips. They will say whatever they think you want to hear beforehand, however, the actual service delivery is poor.

                      1. Club kosher was beautiful

                        1. My family attended Happy Holidays Passover 2013 at the Del Mar Hilton in CA, run by Eitan Aharon (a real mensch). However, the food and food service were very inconsistent -- sometimes terrific, sometimes terrible. Breakfast and lunch were always buffets, and food quickly ran out. Some items were slow to be replaced and some were never replaced at all -- completely unacceptable. Kiddush on Shabbos and yontiff was very nice. Dinner at the sedarim was very slow, but service got better on subsequent evenings. Desserts were the same every night (boring!). Wine selection was good. Tea room selection very minimal and not kept full. Boxed lunches were a joke. Hotel staff tried very hard, but the fault was with the caterer.

                          50 Replies
                            1. re: Elliotu

                              Approximately $3000 per person, all inclusive.

                              1. re: sbg1818

                                And for this amount they ran out of food?

                                1. re: Elliotu

                                  Running out of food is never ok, no matter the price! I went with this program in 2012, and while the amounts of the food wasn't a problem (they had plenty of everything) all in all in was too basic a program (for the money) Tea room was as described above, pretty much the same pre-packaged, stale cookies day after day. Desserts were repetitive as well (hey, at least I didn't gain weight!) Kiddushim were herring and frozen potato kugel (disgusting!) and the meals overall were ok, but just not heimish cooking at all. I don't think they had an outside caterer: it was the hotel chef cooking kosher l'pesach (which of course, was the problem. Pesach cooking is its own thing) The hotel, the grounds, etc were beautiful but the program was lacking (which is why we didn't go back this year)

                                  1. re: superdanni

                                    There were so many other passover programs. I would love to hear about other programs. We owe it to our community to keep people posted on what is working and what is not working.

                                    1. re: Elliotu

                                      I agree with Superdanni -- whether you pay $1000 or $10,000, they can't run out of food! I believe they had an outside caterer this year, but they must have forgotten to tell him there would be 350 guests to cook for. Kiddushim were lovely, breakfasts were always the same, lunches were always different but always buffets -- just not as nice as I had hoped. Hotel was beautiful and we had a good time, but probably will not return.

                                      1. re: sbg1818

                                        350, wow! Last year there was barely 200! (At least is sounds like he's getting better,and taking the feedback to heart)

                                        1. re: superdanni

                                          That's very funny to me that 350 seems to be a lot. At club kosher last year there was at least 450 people and this year at puerto Vallarta there were at least 600 people. However, both programs were well maintained and in neither program did you feel as though you were surrounded by 600 people because the grounds were so large and in both scenarios the Passover program only took over half the hotel.

                                          As far as food, to my family as well as the 6 other families we usually travel with, it makes or breaks a program for us. We don't spend any time in the room so it's all about the pool, food, and nearby attractions to keep kids entertained. Club kosher had decent food. Mornings there were a lot of salads and cheeses and the omelette station always had huge lines. Food ran out quickly which was a huge draw back for us. We felt like we had to fight to grab food to eat which we really didnt like. Lunches sometimes were cold cuts which in my opinion don't work well with matza haha.

                                          In puerto Vallarta things were very different. NEVER DID FOOD RUN OUT!! You were never stuck eating something you didn't like. There was always a sweet dish, a spicy one, a familiar dish. And everything was so good. We had a pistachio cilantro soup that my family is still talking about. Probably the best soup any of us have had...ever. A lot of the foods were just heavenly and tasted home made and were cooked perfectly. Chullent (chamin), to do for on Saturday! Everything was just abundant and you could never complain about the food and I think that's why we loved the program so much. Most families by day 6 are sick of eating. You get to a point where you feel like all you're doing is eating. Not on this program. Never did anyone complain. Hahaha. WE WANTED THE FOOD!!!! It was perfect!!!

                                          1. re: IsaacE

                                            We went to a program in Lancaster, PA, last year where they had 1100 people and they did NOT run out of food

                                            1. re: Elliotu

                                              I went to the same program (Lancaster) this year and they had about 900 people and PLENTY of food! More than you can imagine!

                                              1. re: superdanni

                                                Would it be too rude to ask about the price of Lancaster PA??? Scratch the manners.. How much r these programs?? I am already saving up for 2014!!!

                                                1. re: Paulfan1

                                                  They were always the most reasonablly priced program in existence and Greenwald caterers cannot be surpassed in terms of food excellence and quantity. Our only problem with the 2012 program was the food serving company. The company that hired and ran the waiters was not good. I am happy to hear that this has been corrected in 2013 and hopefully we will go back to them in 2014

                                                  1. re: Elliotu

                                                    One more question.
                                                    What is the crowd?
                                                    Super frummies??

                                                    1. re: Paulfan1

                                                      definitely RW. Mainly Brooklyn, Baltimore, Lakewood. Very, very few women didn't cover their hair, mainly black hat. (with non-gebroks you're going to usually get a RW crowd)

                                                      1. re: superdanni

                                                        I would love to see a study as whether gebrokts or non gebrokts is better for your health. I always gain weight on passover and gain more with non gebrokts

                                                        1. re: superdanni

                                                          I loved PR club kosher
                                                          Very mixed crowd
                                                          From sheitles to ladies with pants on Shabbat כל ישראל חברים

                                                          1. re: prgc1

                                                            We might go back to Lancaster this year. The hotel is ok, not spectacular. The food is great. Greenwald caterers does an excellent job. Yes it is right wing religous group that runs it and all of the speakers and geared toward a haredi element. On the other hand, the area is very pretty and its in the Amish area which is always nice

                                                    2. re: superdanni

                                                      We went to the Lancaster program last year and the year before. Last year there were major problems with the food service. The company they hired to do the actual serving did now know anything about Passover and the service was terrible and as a result my extended family and friends refused to return. I am happy to hear that they got their act together because it is run by good people and we would like to go back to them next year.

                                                      1. re: Elliotu

                                                        I honestly don't know how much it was: I do know that my parents (repeat customers) were apparently given 2011 rates (??) and to be frank, my husband and I give my parents an amount of $$ I feel appropriate (and commensurate with what we can afford) and they cover the rest (if it matters, we gave them $2500) But i do know that these local programs are a lot less than ones in better, more exotic locations, for obvious reasons. No one is in Lancaster this time of year, the hotel/area is not much of a draw. But with chol hamoed falling how it did this year I didn't feel it was worth it go somewhere fabulous if you couldn't really have a full chol hamoed to enjoy it. In past years, my family and I have gone to (in descending order) Lancaster, San Diego, Nice, France, Lake Las Vegas, Cabo san Lucas, Mexico, Phoenix, Arizona, Maine, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood (and before that I don't remember)

                                                        1. re: Elliotu

                                                          oh, and service was DEFINITELy not a problem on the program this year. I think they hired a special maitre d and he oversaw everyone. The service and organization of the program was overall excellent.

                                                          1. re: superdanni

                                                            I a SO happy to hear this. Last year we had 9 people who came for all of part of the program and this year because of last years fiasco, we could not motivated anyone to come. Now I will work on it for next year.

                                                        2. re: superdanni

                                                          Has anyone here gone to Kutchers for Passover? How was that program?

                                                      2. re: IsaacE

                                                        How would I feel as a single wih a small child?
                                                        are people friendly?

                                                        is the food appropriate for a six year old ( fun things to eat) chow hound friendly question.

                                                        1. re: vivia

                                                          Vivia, which hotel are you asking about?

                                                            1. re: vivia

                                                              Can't help you with this hotel.

                                                              1. re: vivia

                                                                GO! We went there last year and it was VERY kid friendly. You'll love it. There's a wide array of food all the time and everything is delicious. And by everything I mean everything. You won't be disappointed. This is the 5 diamonds program of all Passover programs. Especially when it comes to the food. You won't stop eating. I assure you. Benny and his family (organizers) go all out for this program and they will put you in shock with the events they hold for the kids. I assure you, single or not. You won't be disappointed. The people on the program are so nice and it's a great environment. You'll love it. Worth every penny!

                                                                1. re: IsaacE

                                                                  For people who want to stay in the East coast, what are the nicest options, yet reasonable?

                                                                  1. re: IsaacE

                                                                    where are you going this year?

                                                                    1. re: vivia

                                                                      We are leaning toward the Host in Lancaster. I heard good things about them last year. We went there in the past and I heard they really made things much nicer. We are open to suggestions of other places.

                                                                      1. re: Elliotu

                                                                        We love Ocean Place Resort by Matza Fun tours on the beach in Longbranch,NJ. The food is outstanding, and never ending. I love the buffets for breakfast and lunch. For us chowhounds, they have shakshuka, omelettes to order, pancakes, French toast ( you would not know that it is not bread-unbelievable stuff) for breakfast and fish , paninis, pizza -gebrocht and non , pasta, etc. Dinners include steak, Chinese night with ribs, fried quinoa ( made to taste like rice), lamb, veal,etc. The people are very nice. The entertainment will be great this year , although don't know if I can comment more on that on this board.

                                                                        1. re: kosherfoodie1226

                                                                          What is there to see and do there during Hol Hamoed?

                                                                          1. re: Elliotu

                                                                            mini golf, par three golf, beach, outlet shopping, bowling, movies, jenkinson's pier, plus the program has plenty of activities- free bus to Great Adventure on first day Chol Hamoed, bus to jenkinson's , teen billiards tournaments, chess demos, lectures, zumba, shows for day camp kids, carnival for kids, last couple of years they brought a gaming bus -very cool, plus they have a game room with video games for the whole week, if the weather is nice, relaxing or walking on the beach and the boardwalk is the best activity.

                                                                            1. re: kosherfoodie1226

                                                                              Isn't it cold in April on the beach in New Jersey?

                                                                              1. re: Elliotu

                                                                                There have been years where it has been in the 70's and 80's and Kiddush has been outside. We have spent a number of years sitting out at the beach or playing at the beach, some years in shorts and bathing suits, others in sweats. Walking the boardwalk is a great way to walk off the never ending excellent food. They had sweetbreads and tongue for Kiddush last year.

                                                                                1. re: kosherfoodie1226

                                                                                  I heard the food is A+. There are two ways of looking at it. One way is that it tastes great. the other way is that at the end of Passover you will have to face what is only second to facing Hashem on yom Kippur. You will face the scale !!!

                                                                                  1. re: Elliotu

                                                                                    Just a different kind of scale (on YK it's the scales of justice)!

                                                                                    1. re: queenscook

                                                                                      LOL. You are correct.

                                                                                      How long have you been going to this resort for Pesach? Are you a guest?

                                                                                      1. re: Elliotu

                                                                                        I have been going as a guest for about 9 years already, I can't believe it's been so long myself, come to think of it. I started out going for chol hamoed and the last days, this will be my third year going for the whole Pesach.

                                                                                        1. re: kosherfoodie1226

                                                                                          What concerns me is that in the past I went to Long Branch beach in mid May and it was cold and windy.

                                                                                          1. re: Elliotu

                                                                                            It is true, there is no way to know what the weather will be like on the beach in Jersey over Pesach, but that is the same for anywhere you go on the East Coast.

                                                                                                1. re: kosherfoodie1226

                                                                                                  Based on your comments we are going to take a trip there to check out the hotel

                                                                                      2. re: kosherfoodie1226

                                                                                        Do they have an indoor gym and an indoor pool?

                                                2. Any reviews on the KMR program in California?

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: chicago maven

                                                    Also any reviews on Goldwassers program at the Trump Doral Hotel in Miami Beach?

                                                    1. re: chicago maven

                                                      Does anyone have experience with LMI Retreats at the Hyatt Regency of Newport Beach California.

                                                    2. Hope you all don't mind a question from a Catholic. Irish, no less :) I always enjoy reading the kosher board and have learned quite a lot but haven't figured this out. Is there a religious significance to going on vacation during Passover? Also, what on earth is a tea room? It sounds fantastic. Thanks!!

                                                      28 Replies
                                                      1. re: Hobbert

                                                        No religious significance per se, but for various reasons (to get far-flung family together, to avoid the fairly labor-intensive process of cleaning and cooking for the holiday, to take a vacation that some working people might not be able to take at other times of the year because of the limited number of vacation days some get when they take so many days off for holidays, etc.), some choose Passover to go away. However, the cost of many of these programs is prohibitive to others, and some of us, God help us, actually enjoy spending Passover at home with family and friends, cooking, going to our own synagogue, etc. Count me in that camp.

                                                        As I understand it, a tea room is a room open when meals aren't being served (some are round-the-clock, others have more limited hours), where tea, cake, chocolates, cold drinks, etc. are available. However, since I've never been, I'm not speaking from personal experience.

                                                        1. re: queenscook

                                                          Ah, that makes sense. Thanks for the replies.

                                                        2. re: Hobbert

                                                          Observant Jews must prepare their kitchens for Passover by removing traces of leavened foods and changing out dishes - essentially rplacing the majority of your utensils, cookware, tableware, serving pieces, etc. In addition you clean out your refrigerator, stove and oven.

                                                          Add to that having your family, extended family and guests for two Seder meals for which you have to buy specialized ingredients.

                                                          In short, it can get expensive and very, very busy. Since kids usually are on vacation and those away from home or at college come home for the holiday, it's a nice opportunity to spend time together without feeling like you're constantly cooking, serving or cleaning up. You simply lock up your house "as is" without having to ritually and literally clean it.

                                                          So there's no religious significance to going away, it's more of a "killing two birds" solution.

                                                          A "tea room" is a hospitality room set up at the hotel for snacks, beverages (coffee, juice, soda, tea) and other treats. Since you're at a hotel and you are restricted to Passover-approved foods, it's a convenient way for the guests to snack between meals and an expectation in an all-inclusive environment.

                                                          1. re: Hobbert

                                                            Most people stay home for Passover but it is extremely hard for many families because the kosher laws that pertain only to passover are very difficult. Hence many go away and kill two birds with one stone by making it their vacation as well as avoiding all of the work of making the holiday at home. As fo tea room- thats just a room at a hotel where they serve tea and cake

                                                            1. re: Hobbert

                                                              Some families choose to go away for the holiday because of different levels of observance. Prevents issues and arguments between family members. (A wont eat in B's house b/c they're not up to A's standard)

                                                              Also, I know some families where the grandparents take the whole family on a trip because preparing all the meals and hosting family is just too difficult for them.

                                                              1. re: Hobbert

                                                                Sorry this is a year late Hobert......but Passover is the DREADED holiday for us JEWS. We have LOADS of work in the kitchen to do which is quite ironic given the fact that the holidays signifies our release from slavery in Egypt!!!!!!
                                                                So, some of us choose this week to go away to a "Passover Program" this is a double win ( also double as costly :-( )
                                                                We go away.....don't cook or slave ( (8 days) and have a sweet vaycay!!
                                                                Ok......tea room. Excellent question. The tea room is a room in the hotel that has full time snaks, kind of a hospitality room. Hope I've answered all!!!!

                                                                1. re: Paulfan1

                                                                  I wouldn't call Passover dreaded (and certainly not in all caps). While it is a lot of work to prepare for it is also a tremendously special time for the family. I do the cleaning and the cooking and the serving, etc., but the tradeoff is well worth it. The seder is one of the most special experiences of the year with stories and songs and bonding time with the family.

                                                                  1. re: ahuva

                                                                    I'm with Ahuva here. I love Pesach, I love getting ready for it. Yes, it's a lot of work. And, admittedly, as I have gotten older and more prosperous I do have household help that I did not have when the children were young. But even when I did everything myself (and I still do most of it, on a schedule that starts before Purim) and even though the scheduling of all the preparatory work is a challenge - I still love the anticipation that goes with all of the planning, the using up everything in the cupboards and refrigerator, the anticipatory feel of the the turn-the-house-inside-out cleaning. I like the intricacies of Passover menu planning and cooking, the specialness of unpacking dishes used only once a year. the family gathering, the setting up of sleeping spaces everywhere, and the holiday feel.

                                                                    I've never been to a hotel Passover, but I feel certain that the holiday must lose a great deal of its flavor and excitement if all you do in preparation is take a cab to the airport. In truth, I pity the children who grow up with such Passovers. They miss so much.

                                                                    1. re: AdinaA

                                                                      I'm with you! It's definitely a lot of work (especially with a toddler!!) but it's such a great holiday. Like you said...especially the family togetherness

                                                                      1. re: AdinaA

                                                                        One relative's compromise, when the kids were young, was to alternate between pesach at home and at a hotel. That way the kids would learn how to make pesach, but they could have the luxury of not having to do it every year.

                                                                        1. re: zsero

                                                                          I like that compromise. There is a segment of the Jewish population where the children are growing up not knowing what making pesach is and to them, the laws of pesach, will be and have the same relevance as the laws of shechita where only the rabbis and mashgichim need to know the laws, not them.

                                                                          I see this in the neighborhood where I live. One day when I was in line for bagels I overheard one person asking another, "where are you going for pesach?" - not, are you going away for pesach, but "where are you going". Goodness, the rabbi of my shul goes away each year for pesach at a hotel!! Imagine an accountant taking a vacation the first two weeks of April!

                                                                    2. re: Paulfan1

                                                                      I just love the "laws of pesach" when I go to a hotel.

                                                                      (1) Make sure no chometz in suitcases
                                                                      (2) Check all pockets in clothing for chometz


                                                                      Not only is there no hassle to clean for pesach, One does not have to clean on pesach or even have to make ones bed. No cooking, no cleanup just sit back and be fed! Oy, if only the Jews had it this easy when they left Egypt!

                                                                      1. re: HaroldC

                                                                        Actually, you missed the real number ONE

                                                                        Have PLENTY of money to pay for someone else doing all the work!

                                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                                          The tables have turned. From being slaves and having to serve the hotel goer is playing the role of being in the Egyptian shoes by being the masters and now being the ones that are being served. Makes it a little difficult understanding and being able to relate to the Yetzias Mitzraim story. This one can see sometimes by the arrogant behavior of some of the hotel guests to the staff (slaves?).

                                                                          1. re: MartyB

                                                                            Growing up we went to the Catskills for Pesach 1955-1965. When I was in college (early 70s) I worked as a waiter in the Catskills during Pesach. So, in the last 40 years, I have either been at a siblings and in the last 25 consectutive years hosted multi generations of the family in my home,
                                                                            I do all the cooking and I love it. There are very few amenities I'd in a hotel that I don't have in my home in the country. No beach, but I hate sand. AND I have a separate Pesach kitchen and don't have to bring in a crew to kasher.

                                                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                                                              Now all you have to do is buy a CD of Yaakov Shwekey or Yisroel Williger and buy a new car with the money you saved. Now while in your new car, put in the CD and close your eyes and imagine you are at one of their concerts and smile all the way to the bank :)

                                                                              1. re: MartyB

                                                                                Talk about dreading things . . . just the idea of listening to that "music" is enough to make me ill. But that's just me; YMMV.

                                                                                1. re: queenscook

                                                                                  I wouldn't be listening to it and no chance I'd buy it. I said it takes lots of money to go to a hotel for Pesach. I never said I stay home to save money. I don't know why MartyB thinks that's the reason. This yuntif we had 24 staying here. Today was mom's 91st birthday and it's worth all the work to have the family together with her.
                                                                                  It would be much cheaper not to maintain a 19 room home plus grounds year round for only 4 people and to to a hotel for Pesach, but it wouldn't give us the same pleasure. Last Pesach my great niece made the Charoset at our house using her great-great grandmother's mortar and pestle. That wouldn't happen in a hotel.

                                                                                  1. re: queenscook

                                                                                    Adding my 2 cents... I love Pesach, too. And for My whole childhood, we were in our own home for yom tov. We cooked, cleaned, shopped. And complained every step of the way while secretly relishing it all along. I did it with my dad and sister after my mom died when I was in high school. When I got to college, there were a few years of Pesach hotel programs. And they were, for the most part, very nice. My biggest compkaint, besides the exorbitant price of some programs, was the lack of feeling like yom tov (mini golf andcennis on yom tov?) and the behavior of some guests. The utter kack of derech eretz to the staff and even to other guests (changing diapers on the tea room tables!? Really? ) and other such behavior trned my stomach. To never even say please and thank you?

                                                                                    But those years were necessary as There was no one to make Pesach. And then there were years of Pesach at home again. Small family, two sisters and our dad, that wje were, we gladly made Pesach. I even made my own gefilte fish, from grinding ill serving, I did it all with pleasurecand a sense of accomplishment and rightness. Knowing that this was what my mom and hers and hers before did.

                                                                                    And, it all changed this year. Both my dad and sister became ill and passed away within months o one another. Other than a couple of cousins who left Judaism long ago, I'm alone. So, for the first time in many years, I am grateful such programs exist. I will be attending one with a friend who is also alone. There's a market fr these things. It helps people like me. But, in all honesty, if I had a family of my own, (g-d willing soon!), you can bet your bottom dollar that I'd be greatly anticipating rolling up my sleeves, breaking out my food processor, shining my mom's seder plate, and teaching my kids about the beauty of the holiday, and its true meaning. And the mini golf gets saved for chol hamoed. Schwekey and Williger,too :)

                                                                                    Sorry for the long post...

                                                                                      1. re: Miri1

                                                                                        It is a lovely post, and showed me an aspect of Pesach that I was too wrapped up in myself to have seen.

                                                                                        1. re: Miri1

                                                                                          Where do u live Miri?
                                                                                          U can come to my Pesach WITH your friend!!! You are AWESOME and your mom is certainly smiling and full of pride over how u turned out. Hugs.

                                                                                          1. re: Miri1

                                                                                            No need to apologize for the length of your post. Despite CH's intentions this board is an extended on-line family that understands that food is only part of the family dynamics.

                                                                                            There is a time and place for everything. My father's mother always bragged that she never made Pesach in her long life. By the time she stopped going to her mother's home (great grandma passed away in the mid 1950s) we went to a hotel as a family (because no one could accomodate the whole family in their own home) until my parents had a large enough home to accomodate everyone.

                                                                                            Our home is designed (or redesigned) based on having the entire extended family (and guests) for yuntif. We have 19 rooms and a studio over the garage. The kids, and nieces and nephews have always brought home college friends/roommates for yuntif. My 37 yo nephew is now married 20 years to the college room-mate of my 37 yo niece (other side of the family). The room-mate was from the midwest and niece dragged her our home for yuntif each year of college.
                                                                                            Families do spread their wings and move on, having to deal with in-laws, etc. My mom set down a rule in 1970 when the first of my siblings married "Even years are B family years, odd years you are free to go to your in-laws or where ever you choose." Our generation has ruled thus with our kids and we explain this to the future in-laws. The system has worked for years.
                                                                                            Would it actually be cheaper and easier for my nuclear family to go to a hotel? Yes. Would we....not if it could be avoided.

                                                                                            Unlike some, I do not view Pesach as a reason for a vacation. I love the cooking, cleaning, shopping and passing on/sharing the family traditions.

                                                                                            A simple example of things we couldn't do at many hotel programs: We eat gebrokhts. Chol HaMoed we let the youngest kids get inventive and design their own special version of matzo balls with hidden surprises. One year a 20 something made a 'special' which he served to his girlfriend. She complained that it was hard, put it on her plate and cut into it>>>to find an engagement ring.

                                                                                            No our home is not on the beach-I don't like sand. But we have a pool, hot tub, tennis, basketball, home theatre and BBQ for amenities. No tea room, but walk into our Pesach kitchen almost anytime of day or night and some relative will be there to serve/share up tea, cake, soda and lots of love.

                                                                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                              I'm in
                                                                                              Do u have mixed swimming??
                                                                                              It sure sounds terrific though

                                                                                              1. re: Paulfan1

                                                                                                We don't hold with all the restrictions imposed by the post WWII immigrants.
                                                                                                I'm 5th generation American in a family that now stretches to the 8th. My great-great grandmother may have sat in the balcony but she sure didn't wear a wig.
                                                                                                We were all taught how to run a kosher kitchen including kashering the meat. A skill lost on today's big city frum Jews. I love to buy animals from local farmers, have it shect ...split it so that a non-Jewish neighbor takes the hindquarters and I kasher the forequarters. I get exactly the cuts I want not what's wrapped in plastic at the self service kosher mart.

                                                                                                So what if we swim mixed in our own private pool in our wooded yard with our own family and guests? No one wants to look at this 60 year old body,......

                                                                                                BTW>>>>sorry for all the typos, lately. I've been using a touch screen and don't really like it.

                                                                                      2. re: MartyB

                                                                                        Why do you think this makes it difficult to understand and relate to the story? The exodus is not an anti-slavery story. The Torah has no problem with slavery, and there is no hint of any anti-slavery sentiment among the Jews in Egypt, before or after they left.

                                                                                        Even in Moshe's admonitions to Par'oh, there's no condemnation either of his holding slaves in general, or even of his having enslaved us! Hashem seems to have no problem with the fact that Par'oh has been holding us as slaves until now, but merely demands that he now free us. He can keep all the rest of his slaves.

                                                                                        Pesach is not about the abolition of slavery, it's about <i>our</i> liberation from slavery; we celebrate the fact that from being slaves, we became free people who can own slaves.

                                                                              2. Does anyone have experience with LMI Retreats at the Hyatt Regency of Newport Beach California.

                                                                                1. Is anyone else surprised kosher4passover.com hasn't updated yet for pesach 2014?

                                                                                  I feel as though by this time last year the organizers already disclosed their locations and pricing etc; I'm curious to know what our options are.

                                                                                  We really don't want to go to Puerto Rico or puerto Vallarta again. Although the program in Mexico was outstanding, a 9.9/10 in all aspects, we're big on trying new things and is like to start researching the new programs

                                                                                  1. Has anyone gone to honors heaven for Pesach?