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New York - From Slavery To Sunshine? Record Breaking Pesach Has 100,000 Jews Heading On Vacation

Published on: March 28, 2018 11:20 AM
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In this photo taken April, 9 2017, a welcome sign by the Passover Getaway is displayed at the entranceway of the Hyatt Regency Orlando.  (Eli Wohl/VINnews.com)In this photo taken April, 9 2017, a welcome sign by the Passover Getaway is displayed at the entranceway of the Hyatt Regency Orlando.  (Eli Wohl/VINnews.com)

New York - Pesach, the defining moment of the Jewish nation, is a celebration of freedom from slavery, but this year’s holiday will be an exodus of another sort for a record number of people who will be packing their bags, leaving their homes and enjoying an eight day long vacation.

According to Menachem Lubinsky, president and CEO of Lubicom Marketing & Consulting, an estimated 100,000 members of the Jewish community will be spending Pesach at 125 different properties and programs this year throughout the world.

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Lubinsky said that last year approximately 75,000 to 80,000 people went away for Pesach, and while the numbers typically increase annually, this year’s Chol Hamoed, which falls out on weekdays and offers greater recreational opportunities, was responsible for the unusually large jump in numbers.

“We are seeing 30,000 people heading to Orlando with stores sending trailer loads of food down south for their customers,” Lubinsky told VIN News.

Lubinsky noted that the numbers aren’t quite as large as they seem at first glance.

“There may about 100,000 people going away to programs or renting homes, but really that number is only 22,000 families while the 30,000 going to Orlando means you are talking about 5,000 families,” said Lubinsky.

Having the ability to spend Pesach in a rented home, instead of at a hotel, has been a big draw for many, said Avrumy Jordan who has been managing Pesach programs for years.

“The numbers in Orlando are staggering but I believe it is a natural progression,” said Jordan.  “For a family that lives in a beautiful home and would pay the prices for some of the programs out there, why not rent a house or two, have all your meals catered and get a waiter?  You don’t need to get dressed up and there is no pressure. You are spending Pesach at home, without the work, and you have our own pool at all times. You don’t get Avraham Fried, but Mickey Mouse is a close second.”

While some people go all out and have their meals prepared for them in a rental home, others choose to buy their groceries locally and then have them shipped down to Orlando.  Jackson resident Aaron Glucksman has been running a company called Pesach Shipping for the last five years, sending refrigerated tractor trailers from Monsey, Brooklyn, the Five Towns, and Lakewood to the Sunshine State for Pesach.

“The first year we sent just half a truck,” said Glucksman.  “The year after we had two and a half trucks. Then it was four, then five and this year we are up to six trucks.”

Glucksman estimated that he can put 934 boxes on his 53 foot tractor trailers, with the price per box ranging from $15 to $25 per box.  He currently offers his services through Moisha’s Supermarket in Brooklyn all seven Seasons locations, several other stores and Batya’s Kitchen, a catering service.

“A lot of people don’t want the hotel scene and this is for sure cheaper,” said Glucksman.

Restaurant guru Elan Kornblum said that Orlando, with its many miles of tourist attractions and plethora of rental properties, appears to be the hottest destination this Pesach.

“People feel that they are getting more use out of their time this year and aren’t just going to be sitting at home,” said Kornblum.

An improved economy has been another reason that more people have chosen to turn Pesach into a family vacation, according to Kornblum.

“It is the one time of year that everyone gets together, from grandparents to grandkids and everyone in between,” said Kornblum.

Kornblum will be spending Pesach in Cancun with the Kosher Luxus program for the third consecutive year.  The program is modestly priced, compared to others, at about $6,000 per couple and most participants spend their Chol Hamoed relaxing either on the beach or at the pool.

Since Kosher Luxus serves its meals in an existing kosher restaurant, the program is limited to the room’s capacity of approximately 300 people, some of whom are regulars who return every year, while others prefer to use Pesach as an opportunity to see the world, traveling to different destinations each year.

Jordan is spending Pesach with his family in the Dominican Republic where he is the general manager of Diamond Club Passover Vacations.  Now in its fifth year, the program has almost 900 people hailing from all over the United States, Israel, England, Spain, Argentina, Mexico and Brazil. The Totally Jewish Travel website lists dozens of international Pesach programs in locations such as Australia, Brazil, the Bahamas, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, China, Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, Morocco, Africa, Israel and Europe.

In this photo taken April, 10 2017, a seder table is displayed at the Passover Getaway program at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. (Eli Wohl/VINnews.com)In this photo taken April, 10 2017, a seder table is displayed at the Passover Getaway program at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. (Eli Wohl/VINnews.com)

Aside from Orlando, there are Pesach programs scattered throughout the United States in California, Arizona, Washington D.C., Las Vegas, Florida and New England.  Those who prefer to stay closer to home can choose from a wide variety of programs in New York, the Hudson Valley, the Catskills, New Jersey and the Poconos.

“Some people don’t want to travel and some need to go to work, so there are plenty of choices for them as well,” said Kornblum.

Zika, which was a big concern last year and had some programs out west touting their Zika-free status while others in Florida defended their locations as well out of the danger zone, appears to be off the radar.  But other worries persist with three Pesach programs shutting down this year, one calling it quits just this week.

“I don’t remember things like this happening seven or eight years ago,” said Kornblum.  “Every year lately there are just a few that close and we sit and wait to see which one it is going to be.”

That relatively recent phenomenon may be related to new players jumping into the Pesach business hoping to take advantage of the massive market, where prices range from high to higher.

“There are big risks,” said Kornblum.  “We have seen so many programs come and go after just one year.”

Programs abroad can create particular challenges, with one Mexico based program creating lots of buzz last year after the hotel held guests personally responsible for additional charges it felt were owed by the program and threatening to call in the authorities if the money was not paid in full.

“It just shows you the importance of a hotel with a solid history,” said Kornblum.

While Pesach may be just a few days away, there are still rooms available at some programs, a blessing for those whose plans were recently cancelled while offering discounted opportunities for those who don’t mind making last minute arrangements.

“People make deals and get better prices,” said Kornblum. “They might go for the Seder to their parents or their in laws and decide they want to go away for the rest of the yom tov and I am guessing that on Erev Yom Tov there will be people negotiating for Chol Hamoed. Hopefully Pesach will work out well for everyone with no drama and no stress.”



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Read Comments (9)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Mar 28, 2018 at 11:31 AM triumphinwhitehouse Says:

and yet we are told by the Met Council on Jewish poverty with their CEO making $400,000 a year that poverty is rising?

2

 Mar 28, 2018 at 01:35 PM grandbear Says:

This isn't the pesach of my childhood at all. Extravance and living the high life style didn't exist .Hard working parents were happy to sit at their tables , with family members all enjoying the yom tov .Not like today at all.

3

 Mar 28, 2018 at 01:48 PM yamsar Says:

Reply to #1  
triumphinwhitehouse Says:

and yet we are told by the Met Council on Jewish poverty with their CEO making $400,000 a year that poverty is rising?

Typical retarded reasoning. I don’t know what the truth is, but I do know that just because more people are headed for vacations on Pesach doesn’t mean that poverty isn’t rising among the lower class.

4

 Mar 28, 2018 at 03:23 PM triumphinwhitehouse Says:

Reply to #3  
yamsar Says:

Typical retarded reasoning. I don’t know what the truth is, but I do know that just because more people are headed for vacations on Pesach doesn’t mean that poverty isn’t rising among the lower class.

it clearly isn't rising by the ceo of met council if he is making half a million per year!!!

5

 Mar 28, 2018 at 04:39 PM fat36 Says:

Reply to #3  
yamsar Says:

Typical retarded reasoning. I don’t know what the truth is, but I do know that just because more people are headed for vacations on Pesach doesn’t mean that poverty isn’t rising among the lower class.

And if poverty is rising and you have all these organizations collecting money to help those families why doesn’t someone come out and stop this madness of the amount of money that is being spent on

6

 Mar 28, 2018 at 09:01 PM Anonymous Says:

I for one cannot justify these steep prices for a one week vacation.

7

 Mar 29, 2018 at 08:37 AM Meloah Says:

I once went out for vacation during Pessach. The problem is that we didn't have any guests...This is a time when Hashem says "don't forget the Get, yassom and almanah". Every time a Yom Tov passes and you don't have those with you, you are missing on a mitsvah from Hashem. Yes, it will be a big deal in the future, when you see the zechus that it brings a person.

Hashem will give special care for those that take care of Hashem's 3 destitute ones. Just imagine if you were one of them, how you would want Hashem to reward those that helped you...It's a different dimension of life. Yes, you stay home, like we have done traditionally for thousands of years, and help those in need.

Take your vacation another time. Grab the mitsvah now.

8

 Mar 29, 2018 at 08:46 AM yamsar Says:

Reply to #4  
triumphinwhitehouse Says:

it clearly isn't rising by the ceo of met council if he is making half a million per year!!!

Perhaps not, but that want your original illogical argument.

9

 Mar 29, 2018 at 08:47 AM yamsar Says:

Reply to #5  
fat36 Says:

And if poverty is rising and you have all these organizations collecting money to help those families why doesn’t someone come out and stop this madness of the amount of money that is being spent on

Why should “somebody stop the madness”? We live in a democratic society and everybody is free to choose the way they want to live their life and spend their money. If you like you can try to enlighten these people to your cause.

10

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