Adventures in Passover

by Leorah Gavidor February 26, 2018
 

 

victoria-falls-in-zambiaPassover down under? How about Africa? The Kosher-for-Passover hotel trend has traveled around the globe, allowing families to “forget about everything” and enjoy the holiday without the traditional work of cleaning chametz from the home. Properties offer minyanim on site, kosher cuisine, Seder fixings, entertainment, activities for children and programming for adults. To stay fresh and fun (and competitive) hosts add new features every year.

Aliza Seidman of Kosherica, which has specialized in Glatt kosher travel experiences for 20 years, said the company regularly welcomes extended families—sometimes 40 to 50 relatives—visiting together.

“They couldn’t all fit in Bubbe’s house, so this is a great way for families from around the world to come together,” Seidman said.

Kosherica hosts Passover in Florida at the PGA Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, at Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas and new this year on the west coast: J.W. Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa in Palm Springs. There’s golf, of course, and sessions with motivational speaker and author Sarah Pachter. Basketball coach Jim Cleamons, formerly of the L.A. Lakers and the Chicago Bulls, will be on hand to play with the kids. Seidman said guests attend Kosherica’s programs from many parts of the diaspora: Vienna, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Australia and Israel, to name a few.

Aussie Pesach at the Hilton in Cairns brings visitors to the far north of Australia, known for the Great Barrier Reef. Tropical rainforest comes down to white sandy beaches fringed with coral reefs. A short drive from the coast is Daintree Forest, the oldest rainforest on earth. Daintree is home to some of the rare species that make Australia unique, like the southern cassowary bird and the Bennett’s tree kangaroo. The historic Kuranda Scenic Railway snakes through the mountainous tropical forest, while the Skyrail Gondola gives visitors a bird’s eye view of the lush vegetation. Diving, snorkeling and boating excursions showcase the reef’s wonder.

For a Passover safari, check out South Africa or Zambia. Avani Resort, a ten-minute walk from Victoria Falls in Zambia, advertises helicopter rides and elephant safaris. Jet set between Cape Town and Johanessburg in South Africa, with two half-day drives (complete with kosher picnics) in Entabeni Park.

Several tour operators offer kosher getaways in Morocco, home to the largest Jewish community in the Arab world. Though the population has dwindled steadily since 1948, about 2,500 Jews still reside in Casablanca. Currently the Jewish quarter in Marrakech, called the “Mellah,” is undergoing a restoration. Locals welcome visitors to shops selling Judaica and the historic Al Azama Synagogue that dates back to 1492. Avi Events sets itself apart by offering professional development and training with educators from La Sorbonne, in addition to entertainment, excursions and gourmet cuisine at the Royal Mogador Palace in Marrakech. Moroccan Passover would not be complete without the Mimouna ceremony, a celebration of the return to chametz, which originated in North Africa.

Across the pond from the African continent, many South American countries offer Pesach experiences. An hour south of Sao Paolo, “or a 15-minute helicopter ride,” the luxury Sofitel Guaruja Jequitimar sits right on the beautiful Brazilian beach. The Jewish community in Lima, Peru is one of the oldest in South America, and the Chabad in Cusco caters one of the largest Seders in the world, with over 1,000 attendees. With so many guests at the table, who does the four questions? Α

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