Courtesy of Kosherica
The Kosherica program at Atlantis Paradise Island is one of the many Passover getaways attracting families this year.
As Jews throughout the world prepare to commemorate the exodus of the slaves from Egypt, I am dreaming of a redemption of a different kind.
After all, the boxes of Passover dishes need to be hauled up from the basement and the kitchen needs to be scrubbed – it’s the ideal time to make my getaway.
Lured by ads featuring swanky Passover events at five-star resorts on beaches, mountains and championship golf courses, I envision a sojourn to a promised land where dishes never need to be washed and the tearoom – filled wall-to-wall with pastries – never closes.
Passover programs may vary in size and scope, but they all share the same essential element: an escape from the drudgery of cleaning a home for Passover and cooking a week’s worth of leaven-free meals.
Some 100,000 travelers will book 35,000 hotel rooms around the world for Passover this year, estimates Raphi Bloom, who has been tracking travel trends for the past 18 years and runs www.totallyjewishtravel.com, a travel internet site.
This year will be the busiest holiday season yet, as the customer base for Passover travel becomes larger and more diverse, and new programs have opened in Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean, said Bloom.
Kosherica runs a similarly extravagant program at Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas. There, guests can swim in one of 11 swimming pools and beaches, feed stingrays, swim with dolphins and play in the casino. That’s when they are not enjoying the pre-breakfast, post breakfast and bounteous barbecue.
Dinner menu highlights include oven-baked rack of veal and half roasted chicken with an orange glaze served with a side of honey glazed carrots, mashed potatoes and broccolini.
Among the lunch items served are eggplant rolatini, potato blintzes with caramelized onions, jalapeno jam and balsamic glaze. That program would set us back $27,000 for the ten days, not including airfare.
If the Passover-resort phenomenon is emblematic of the success of American Jews, it may also indicate their desire to observe at the highest level: with sweet charoset rather than bitter maror.
As for me, I felt like the simple son from the Passover Haggadah: with an abundance of opulent options but no idea which to choose. I turned to my wise son, a teenager of few words and strong opinions. "Pesach is the best at home," he advised.
As I thought back to my own childhood, I had to agree. Though my parents took my sisters and me to a variety of hotels over the years, my favorite Passover memory was the time a large crew of friends and relatives (including my Uncle Bob and his sheepdog Barkley) descended on our house for a boisterous holiday in which we talked and sang at meals that lasted well past the hour most hotel dining rooms would allow.
Yet, no matter where in the world Jews find themselves celebrating this year, they will all conclude the Seder in the very same way: by proclaiming "Next year in Jerusalem!"
It won’t require four cups of wine for most of us to really mean it. After all, it’s the eternal dream of every Jew to return to the Holy Land.
Deena Yellin is a newspaper reporter in New Jersey whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Newsday and The Jerusalem Post.