5 Steps to Picking Your Perfect PASSOVER Hotel Program

Once you've selected your passover vacation destination, the next step is to choose your hotel. If you are particular about your hotel, you may need to pick your hotel before your destination if you're not using any of the various Passover vacation packages, or you might end up switching locations a couple of times. Play around with it and keep your options open. Many destinations are similar - white sandy beaches or mountain skiing - but your passover hotel will make all the difference. You will be spending a lot of time at the hotel or in your room, so do the research.

  1. Choose the location of your hotel. Do you want to be by an incredible golf course? In warm weather? This will narrow down your selection quiet a bit.
  2. How much can you spend? You may be surprised how affordable a Passover vacation can be when you factor that all meals, accommodations, activities and events are included in the price.
  3. What type of hotel do you want to stay out? Hotels can vary from couples-only, adult-only, all-inclusive, large resorts, small boutique hotels... We recommend a resort that has wonderful grounds to roam.
  4. What kind of room or suite do you imagine? You will be spending quality time in your hotel room, so keep this in mind when picking your hotel.
  5. Amenities? Hotel costs usually increase as the number of amenities increases. If you're planning on spending most of your time away from your hotel ~ sightseeing, shopping, excursions... then the number of amenities shouldn't be very important. If you don't want to leave your resort, then the amenities are key! Here is a list of important resort amenities to consider:
    o   Tea Room availability
    o   Concierge
    o   Golf center
    o   Fitness center
    o   Great Pool
    o   Live entertainment
    o   Kids Club
    o   Adult activities
    o   Quality food
    o   Spa ~ Massage
    o   Access to main attractions in Coral Gables and Miami

What To Do For Passover In Miami And Florida

Miami's full of great tourist destinations for visitors and residents alike! This list presents some great tourist destinations in our region. If you'd like to save on admission to over 25 Miami attractions, you may wish to get a Go Miami Card.


1. South Beach
South Beach Miami
South Beach is the quintessential Miami hot spot. From shopping to partying, this area of Miami Beach is well-known for being a trendy locale.



2. Miami Metro Zoo
Miami Metro Zoo is fast becoming one of the best zoos in the nation. Its climate allows it to keep a wide variety of animals from Asia, Australia and Africa like no other zoo in the country. One of the first free-range zoos in the country, the exhibits is entirely cage less. Animals are grouped according to their geographic territory and animals that live together peacefully in the wild are placed in exhibits together.

3. Seaquarium
Miami Seaquarium
The Miami Seaquarium is located right in the middle of the tourist area, on the causeway between downtown Miami and Miami Beach. It's a fabulous stop where you can witness an outdoor aquarium experience that's only possible in our tropical climate. Be sure to budget enough time to spend at least half a day there!



4. Hit the Beach!
Miami’s beaches offer a great opportunity to get some exercise or just enjoy some time in the sun!

5. Everglades
Florida Everglades
With 1.5 million acres of swamps, saw-grass prairies and sub-tropical jungles, Everglades National Park is one of the most unusual public parks in the United States. Located on the southern tip of Florida, the park is home to 14 rare and endangered species, including the American Crocodile, the Florida Panther and the West Indian Manatee. A large portion of the park is primitive, explored only by adventurists and researchers – but visitors have ample opportunity to walk, camp and canoe.

6. Miami Museum of Science
Check out the latest kid-friendly exhibits at the Miami Museum of Science. You're bound to find a learning adventure for the whole family. The museum is home to the Bird of Prey Research Center and the Weintraub Observatory.

7. Miami Children's Museum
Miami Children's Museum
If you have kids (or just like to act like them!), the Miami Children's Museum is a must-see destination. Their motto of "Play, Learn, Imagine, Create" shines through in the wide variety of interactive exhibits that allow children to explore everything from a supermarket to a television studio, picking up valuable lessons along the way.




8. Parrot Jungle Island
Parrot Jungle offers visitors a fun, educational opportunity to get an up-close look at tropical birds in replicas of their natural habitats. The attraction routinely hosts field trips and offers frequent educational programs.

9. Monkey Jungle
Monkey Jungle Miami
"Where the humans are caged and the monkeys run wild" - it's more than a catch-phrase. Monkey Jungle in southern Miami-Dade County is a truly unique park. While homo sapiens walk through carefully constructed wire pathways, many species of primates scamper above your head, swing through trees and interact with each other in ways difficult to observe in captivity. Keep your eyes open; you never know who's hanging around!






10. Coral Castle
Coral Castle is truly a monument to the uniqueness of Miami! This attractions was built by a Latvian-born Miami resident named Ed Leedskalnin as a monument to his lover. After 28 years of effort, he introduced his 1100-ton coral creation to the world. It's a bit of a trip from downtown, but well worth the time.

11. Vizcaya

Vizcaya Miami
No visit to Miami is complete without a stop at the historical 50-acre Vizcaya estate. This European-style mansion offers a glimpse at life in turn-of-the-century South Florida. It's also an extremely popular venue for galas, weddings and other entertainment events.

 


Kashering for Passover

One of the many preparations one must make for Pesach is kashering, a process to prepare chametz vessels for Pesach use. (Although most people only kasher their utensils in preparation for Pesach, the following directions apply to kashering utensils all year-round as well.) As with all areas of halachah, those who are unsure of how to apply the rules of kashering to their situation should consult their local Orthodox Rabbi.

General rules:

There are two steps in kashering:
1. Cleaning—removing all tangible traces of chametz, and
2. Purging—using heat to remove all absorbed chametz flavor.

Cleaning

All chametz utensils that will be used for Pesach must first be thoroughly cleaned.

This involves the removal of all food, rust, dirt, calcium deposits and anything else that protrudes; it does not include the removal of discolorations. Items which have narrow cracks, crevices, deep scratches or other areas that cannot easily be cleaned, cannot be kashered for Pesach. Therefore, the following, for example, cannot be kashered:
• Colanders
• Decanters or baby bottles (due to their narrow necks)
• Filters/screens over drains in sinks
• Graters
• Knives (or other utensils) where food or dirt can get trapped between the blade and handle
• Slotted spoons
• Sponges
• Toothbrushes

Additionally, the common custom is to cover tables, counters, refrigerator shelves and other areas where one might not have been able to clean away every trace of chametz.

Purging

In addition to cleaning, most items require some form of hot purging in order to remove the flavor that has been absorbed. As a rule, any utensil that came in contact with hot food, was washed with hot water or was used to store liquids, requires hot purging. A comprehensive analysis regarding when hot purging is required and how one determines which form of purging is effective is beyond the scope of this article. Rather we will describe the standard method of purging flavor from the most common items.

Utensils made from the following materials cannot be kashered:
• Ceramic—all types—including brick, china, coffee mugs and enamel.
• Glass—all forms—including Corning Ware, Corelle, fiberglass, porcelain enamel (for example, porcelain sinks and enamelized pots), Pyrex or Thermoses.
• Plastic—Rabbinical authorities disagree as to whether it is possible to kasher plastic and other synthetic materials (including Teflon, rubber, Formica).

You should consult your local Rabbi. If a synthetic material is a minority component of a substance (like Silestone), many rabbis believe that one may kasher it, even if one does not normally kasher artificial materials for a number of reasons.

As a rule, materials such as fabric, metal, wood, rubber and stone (for example, granite and marble) can be kashered.

Specific Items

All methods of kashering noted in this section presuppose that the equipment was thoroughly cleaned, as described above.

Silverware, Pots and Other Small Items

Small items are kashered with hagalah, which involves: 1. Not using the utensil for anything, including non-chametz, for twenty-four hours. This also applies to the (non-Pesach) pot in which the hagalah water will be boiled. 2. Submerging the utensil in boiling water that is over the fire. The water must be at a rolling boil before the utensil to be kashered is put into it, and the water must touch every surface of the utensil. Therefore, each item should be kashered individually, and the water should be allowed to return to a boil before the next item is placed into the pot. Large utensils may be submerged in the water one part at a time. 3. Removing the utensil from the water and rinsing it in cold water.

Ovens

Kashering a Self-Cleaning Oven:
1. Remove any visible pieces of food (or other items) from the oven;
2. Go through one complete self cleaning cycle with the racks in place.

Kashering a Non-Self-Cleaning Oven:
1. Clean walls, floor, door, ceiling and racks thoroughly with an abrasive cleaner (for example, Easy-Off ) to remove tangible chametz. Pay special attention to the temperature gauge, the window in the door and the edges of the oven chamber. Black discolorations that are flush with the metal do not have to be removed.
2. Once the oven is clean, it is preferable that it remain unused for twenty- four hours.
3. Place the racks back into the oven, and turn the oven to broil for one and-a-half hours.
4. Pesach food or pans may be placed directly on the door or racks once the oven has been kashered.

If the oven has a separate broiler chamber, it should be kashered in the same manner as the oven chamber.

A broiler pan that comes in direct contact with food cannot be kashered.

Note: The method of kashering described above is based on the ruling of Rav Aharon Kotler zt’l. However, Rav Moshe ruled that the oven must either be kashered with a blowtorch, or that an insert should be placed into the oven for the duration of Pesach. Consult your own Rabbi for guidance.

Stovetops

The grates of a gas stovetop should be kashered in the oven chamber in the same manner described above. For an electric stovetop, just clean the coils and turn on high for ten minutes. If you have a glass-topped stovetop, you should consult your Rabbi for directions on if/how it can be used for Pesach. For a gas or electric stove, it is preferable to replace the drip pans that are under the burners; if this isn’t possible, the area should be covered with aluminum foil. The work area between the burners should be cleaned and covered with aluminum foil. The knobs and handles of the oven and stovetop should be wiped clean.

Sinks

Kashering a Stainless Steel Sink:
1. If the filter covering the drain has very fine holes, remove the filter and put it away for Pesach with the chametz dishes. If the holes are larger, the filter may be kashered with the sink.
2. Clean the sink, faucet and knobs, and don’t use the sink for anything other than cold water for twenty-four hours.
3. Boil water up in one or more large pots (clean pots that have not been used for twenty-four hours). The pots may be chametz pots.
4. Dry the sink, then pour the boiling water over every spot on the walls and floor of the sink and on the faucet. One may kasher part of the sink and then boil more water for the rest of the sink. Extreme care should be taken during this type of kashering to ensure that none of the boiling water splashes onto the person doing the kashering or others who are nearby.
5. Rinse the sink and faucet with cold water.
6. Put a new filter over the drain. One should also purchase new sponges and a fresh bottle of dishwashing liquid.

Kashering a Porcelain Sink:
Since a porcelain sink cannot be kashered, one should kasher the faucet and knobs as outlined above and, for the duration of Pesach, place a basin (or insert) into the sink. All dishes, silverware, etc., should be washed in the basin, and wash-water can be disposed of through the sink’s drain. One should be careful not to allow the sink to fill with hot water while the basin is in the sink.

Microwave Oven


Wait twenty four hours since using the microwave and make sure that the microwave is clean. One should then heat water in the microwave for twenty minutes and then also pour boiling water over the bottom of the microwave oven. If one cannot pour boiling water over the bottom of the microwave oven, then after heating water for twenty minutes one should move the container to another spot and repeat the heating procedure again. The glass plate should be either covered or replaced for Passover.

Dishwashers

To kasher a dishwasher, one should wait twenty four hours, make sure that the dishwasher is clean, and then run two cycles. If the dishwasher is plastic, there is a debate as to whether one may kasher it, and an Orthodox rabbi should be consulted.

Ceramic dishwashers cannot be used for an entire year before they are kashered them. Therefore, we cannot recommend a way of kashering a ceramic dishwasher for Passover.

Refrigerators, Freezers, Food Shelves and Pantries


These areas should be thoroughly cleaned—paying special attention to the edges where crumbs may get trapped—and the shelves lined with paper or plastic. The refrigerator and freezer will operate more efficiently if one pokes a few holes in the lining.

Tablecloths, Kitchen Gloves, Aprons and Other Items Made of Fabric


Any item made of fabric can be kashered by washing it in a washing machine set on ‘hot’ and then checking to make sure that no pieces of food remain attached to it. Vinyl and plastic-lined tablecloths cannot be kashered.


Additional Passover Travel Tips

What the Airlines Don't Tell You
Some Passover vacation packages will include flights, but sometimes you'll have to handle that on your own. Never accept the first fare quoted. Half the time, some other airline's flight within hours of the one you booked has a special, less expensive deal.

Take advantage of "illegal" connections. These are connecting fights usually less than 45 minutes apart-too close for airlines to feel safe in making them connect. Result. - These flight usually do not even show up on the computer when your trip is being routed. Way out Have your agent write up your flight on two separate tickets. The second is for the illegal connection that originates at your transfer point.
Example: You arrive at O'Hare in Chicago on the way to San Francisco. Instead of waiting three hours for the safe connecting flight, you already have a separate ticket from O'Hare to San Francisco on an illegal connection. If you miss the connection, you turn that ticket in for the next available flight. Cost for two separate tickets.- No more than one through ticket. Baggage.- Waiting for it to be unloaded can cost you valuable time on this tight schedule. Best.- Travel with carry-on luggage.

Some supersaver fares are so low that even if you can't stay as long as their requirements (some ally seven days), you will save by buying two round-trip tickets-one from your home to your destination for the day you want to leave and one from your destination to your home for the day you want to return. The total may be less than the regular round-trip fare.

If you miss your flight and there's just time to catch another, go right to the other airline's departure gate instead of to its ticket counter. If it has an empty seat, the second airline will usually honor the ticket for the flight you missed.

Best seat in the plane. After first class, the choices center on your priorities. For comfort and a smooth ride, pick a seat over the wings. For silence, sit as far forward as possible, but avoid the galley and rest rooms. For leg room, try the first row or seats beside the emergency exits.

How can I save money on my Rental Car Rates?
Shopping the Internet can be the quickest and best way to compare many Rental Car rates.
If you are planning on purchasing extra items such as a damage waiver or insurance, you should also comparison shop those rates.
Make sure their mileage policy is favorable to you so you can avoid extra charges.

Airport fees can be quite large so you might see if it is worth it to use an off-airport facility. However, if the off-airport company picks you up at the airport, you'll probably still have to pay some of the fee.

You can check their national reservation centers and their local offices; one may be offering a better deal than the other. ASK, if this is the best rate they have available.

Make your reservation as soon as you have decided on plans. Most Rental Car Companies increase their rates as reservations come in and their fleets become booked. Also, certain classes of cars will sell out and you may have to end up reserving and paying for a larger vehicle than you want.

Being flexible about your travel plans can save you money. Rental Companies that focus on the business or replacement market customers often have great weekend specials. The best rates are found during the off season and at other times when the Rental Companies have extra cars sitting around.

Check into booking your vacation as a package. You might be able to save by booking your car along with a certain airline, hotel or attraction ticket package.

Book the smallest car that you will need and hope for a free upgrade. But, remember you may get stuck with that small car.

Check into other size class vehicles. They may have extra cars in a certain class and be offering discounts for that size class.

Use coupons, but read them carefully for exceptions. Most upgrade coupons are "based on availability", so if you have an upgrade coupon that you wish to use and also have a monetary discount coupon, bring them both. If they can’t honor the upgrade, they may still give you the monetary discount. Also, remember to book any coupons or discounts in your reservation.

Apply any special discount programs for which you are eligible.

When you get to the counter, ask if there are any upgrade specials available, they might have some good deals.







Disclaimer: Cruise Kosher suggests the top Kosher Cruise Agents and is not responsible for bookings made with those companies.

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