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April 18, 2003 - Image 70

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-04-18

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Arts & Entertainment

Strictly Kosher

Passover travel options are a lot more varied
than a shlep to Miami Beach these days.

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ears ago, Passover travel
usually meant shlepping to
Miami Beach — where
great operatic tenors such as
Robert Merrill and Jan Peerce would
conduct the seder at a fancy-schrnancy
hotel — or to the Catskills, which was
more heimish but just as fattening.
Today, however, Passover travel
options have expanded to encompass
experiences ranging from Disney
World to the Caribbean to a dude
ranch in Wyoming. And you can get
some pretty good deals on Miami
Beach, too.
In fact, the entire kosher travel
business — especially around the
United States — has grown dramati-
cally in recent years, according to
industry executives
"It's exploded," said David
Lawrence, an executive with Kosher
Expeditions, which has offices in
Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles
and offers kosher-catered trips from
Alaska to Zimbabwe.
Lawrence attributes a lot of the
increase in kosher U.S. travel to the sit-
uation in Israel, where the Palestinian
intifada is now in its third year. "We're
getting a lot of day schools that used to
go to Israel but are now looking for
other options," he said.
Michael Hochheiser of Carlton
Travel in Southfield says that of the
dozen or so Detroit-area families he
booked for Passover travel to Israel
this year, only one canceled. "When
you consider the cost of the air travel
and the cost of the hotel programs in
Israel, it's the same or less money
than going to Florida," he notes.
Still, most Detroiters who undertake
Passover travel do head to kosher
resorts in Florida or California, he
adds. This year, there is even a busload
enjoying the holiday at a kosher resort
in the mountains of Pennsylvania.

Targeted Marketing

Kosher Expeditions and other travel
companies are also becoming more

Soriya Daniels is a Connecticut-based

freelance writer

adept at marketing to specific Jewish
market segments, according to Margo
Dix Gold of the Jewish Federation of
Greater Atlanta.
"Trips are no longer marketed only
for seniors and empty-nesters," said
Gold, who noted that more and more
vacations are being designed for sin-
gles or for people desiring adventure
travel.
For example, said Lawrence, his
company can provide food for obser-
vant Jews who want to take a leisurely
cruise or climb Africa's Mount -
Kilimanjaro. "Kosher-trained chefs
and mashgiachs (kosher inspectors)
travel with our groups," he said, "and
we'll fly in food if necessary."
The Jewish travel business is espe-
cially good around Passover, said
Gold.
"Research has shown that Passover
is the most celebrated holiday
amongst Jews, even for those who are
not very observant," she said. "Almost
all Jews will celebrate Passover in
some way."
And that has led a variety of com-
panies to offer Passover vacation
packages.
For example, MatzaFun Tours offers
Passover at Disney's Contemporary
Resort in Orlando. In additional to all
the Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck
you can stand, the package features
three gourmet glatt kosher meals daily
and traditional family seders, daily
synagogue services, guest lecturers and
nightly entertainment.
Included are two-day children's
Park Hopper passes for full-stay
guests and transportation to all
Disney theme parks. To learn more,
call (866) 466-2892.
For another Florida option,
Celebrity Cruise Line's Summit offers
an 11-day Passover cruise departing
from Fort Lauderdale. The Summit
package includes seders on the first
two nights of Passover conducted in a
separate area of the dining room
under Conservative supervision.
The Summit's itinerary includes
Key West, Mexico, Panama, Costa
Rica, Aruba and Grand Cayman.
Greg Bernhardt, a resident of
Manhattan's Upper West Side, took
last year's cruise, which enabled him
to spend Passover with his mother for

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