Mar 19, 2009
Take Cancun, Banff For Pesach
Cancun Rabbi Mendel Druk with friends

Philadelphia's Jewish Exponent reports this week about preferable Kosher getaways for Pesach. Some of the recommendations: Chabad of Cancun headed by Rabbi Mendel and Rachel Druk, and Chabad of Downtown S. Diego headed by Rabbi Zalman and Nechama Dina Carlebach. COLlive recommends another luxury destination - Banff, Alberta, in the Canadian Rockies.

By Lauren Kramer, Jewish Exponent and COLLive Reporter

The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent writes, Passover is one time of the year when many of us dream of escaping the rigmaroles of shopping, cleaning and preparing for the holiday. One way to do this is to sign up for a Passover cruise or a stint at a resort, preferably somewhere tropical and sunny.

For those who like a glatt-kosher Passover and can afford to splurge, these getaways seem ideal. Extended families can come on their own dime, Passover seders are organized and fully catered by resort staff, and the biggest responsibility is deciding who gets to sing Mah Nishtanah.

Of course, it comes at a price. At the Miami Biltmore Golf Resort & Spa ( -- which boasts the largest hotel pool in the country, and will be hosting scholars in residence Rabbi Marc Schneier and Rabbi Rafael Grossman -- mom and dad will pay $2,950 each for the cheapest room, to stay the entire time of Passover. The fee for kids in the same room is between $1,100 and $1,300, depending on their age, which means an outlay of a whopping $8,100 for a family of four before you've even added the 25 percent extra in taxes, service charges and tips, or factored in the commute to Miami."

Another location is the KMR Tours' Pesach Program ( at the Fairmont Hotel in Banff, Alberta, amidst the Canadian Rockies, where guests will pay $2,995 per person. Hosts Boruch and Shimmy Werner promise an unforgettable experience combining an inspiring atmosphere with five star luxury. Scholars in residence include the world renowned lecturer Manis Friedman and Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis. Participants can ski the famous slopes or relax in the Banff Hot Springs, making it the ideal family Passover getaway.

As The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent writes, It's a steep price to pay to escape the tribulations of spring cleaning, making that pilgrimage to the grocery store and laboring umpteen hours in the kitchen. However, the cost of food starts to look quite inexpensive when compared with the expense of a Passover getaway.

There are a few options in- between, though. Many synagogues host communal seders for Passover, and self-catering accommodations give you the opportunity to transport yourself someplace sunny, prepare your own meals on disposable tableware and enjoy the seder with other Jews at a significantly reduced price.

Take Cancun, for example. Chabad Lubavitch of Cancun (, which bills itself as "your Jewish oasis in the heart of the Mexican Caribbean," will be hosting a traditional seder at a local hotel led by Rabbi Mendel Druk, complete with wine, shmura matzah and dinner. The fee is $30 for adults and $10 for kids for the seder, while a two-bedroom suite with fridge and microwave at the three-star Avalon Baccara costs $375 plus tax per night.

If you've been considering taking the kids to Lego Land and SeaWorld, Passover might just be the time to head to San Diego. The city's Chabad Downtown ( is hosting seders both nights, promising that they will be "spiced with unique traditional customs," at $36 per person.

Right next door to Chabad are one- and two-bedroom loft suites priced at $189 per night, and located close by to the Sunday farmer's market.

How you choose to get away during Passover depends largely on your level of Orthodoxy and personal flexibility.

But for those with a spirit of adventure, and a willingness to celebrate this holiday on new turf and surrounded by different faces, there are lots of possibilities out there.

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Opinions and Comments
a true inspiration
mendel and his wife r true inspirations
(3/19/2009 1:22:41 PM)
Banff is the place to go if you can aford it!
(3/19/2009 4:03:37 PM)
ND and zalmen you rock!
(3/19/2009 5:28:56 PM)
chabad of downtown the best place to be !

M & M & cm
(3/19/2009 6:39:05 PM)
nechama dina and zalman you truelly incredible!!!!!!!
(3/19/2009 6:41:13 PM)
pesach in sd
zalman an nechama dina
u are awesome
(3/20/2009 7:35:33 AM)
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