Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Don't Pass Over

From the time I was born until I finished high school, I spent every Pesach at my parents' home in Cleveland, with fond memories of my sister somehow getting drunk on the four cups of wine and singing "Who Knows One" in a drunken yell, or the constant re-stealing of the Afikoman by my father, brother, and myself, or the hidden notes planned a year prior by Vervel for when she'd be in Israel asking if we missed her. The next two years, I split the sedarim in Israel: One at my cousins with many other cousins (figure 17 kids + the adults) and my aunt, and one with my friends from OJ at one of the rebbeim. Since then, it's been a mix of Cleveland and Monsey as we shuttle between my parents and Serach's - enjoying the dramatic difference between the two styles (my father-in-law is Sephardic, my father Litvak-American) and weather (like the drop from 80 to 28 + 8 inches of snow in one day in Cleveland).

One thing I've never done, however, is go to a hotel for Pesach... and neither have either of my siblings... until now. My dear older sister Vervel will be spending this Pesach at the stunning Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort by Chesapeake Bay, Maryland (I just found out the hotel is only 7 years old - wow). The company she works for started an annual Pesach hotel there and from what I've heard from people it's absolutely amazing. In one of those 'all worlds come together' things, one of the owners of HLF Leisure Tours is an old friend who went to OJ shortly after me and who has done an amazing job of putting this together with his partners. Perhaps interesting for regular readers here is that R' Yaakov Horowitz of Monsey is a main draw and will be spending the whole Yom Tov there. I also really like the whole presentation and approach - I was told it's a really family-friendly hotel and people really get to feel like they're a part of everything, and when my sister was telling me about the place and asking me to tell people about it I couldn't help but notice how they presented it - from their families, and from themselves:

Dear Friends,

HLF Leisure Tours is excited to once again host Passover at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Gold Resort, Spa and Marina in Cambridge, Maryland. We look forward to having you and your family join us for Passover. Please contact us with any questions or concerns. We can be reached at 877-HLF-TOURS or Please check out our website at for more information.


Ed Hoffman Josh Lewis Jacob Fader
Anyway, the place looks absolutely gorgeous, the food is supposed to be amazing (anyone who has ever had Hoffman Catering knows this to be true), it's such a relaxing, fun getaway, and perhaps more importantly, the people who go that I know are all really great, nice people. It's not far from New York/New Jersey or Baltimore, and the prices are really reasonable for something like this. There's even a Facebook page (which already has over 100 fans - geez) for it. Plus, if you go there for Pesach, you can probably keep an eye out for my dear old sister and her grape-juice buzzed shenanigans. Trust me, it's worthwhile entertainment.

Meanwhile, I'm hoping it won't be snowing in Cleveland again.

Here's the PDF for those interested [click to enlarge]:


  1. just FYI, tons of Pesach hotels market them from the family. Like "Pesach with the Oppenheimers" or "Pesach with the Schwartzes".

    I wanna go to Pesach with the Chevra. No fair that my FIL decided it's time to stay home the year i got marrieD!!!

  2. Every family has to make its own cost-benefit analysis. If the cost is too high for a given family, the benefits become irrelevant.

  3. The hotel looks gorgeous, and the thought of going away and not doing any cooking or serving is really tempting, but there's definitely something to be said for being home with family.

  4. PN - I was going to give you a shoutout by the snow! :) Cool, I didn't know that; the ones I've seen didn't have that family bent.

    And :P

    Bob - Of course!

    MW - Agreed both ways. For some people going away makes sense; for some, staying home is more appropriate.

  5. Sometimes I try to imagine what my family's seder would look like in a big room of other people having sedarim (is that even how it works at a hotel?). I can't imagine it. Either that, or I'd be torn between loving how crazy my family is (usually how I feel when it's just us) and feeling self-conscious that now other people can see how crazy we are...

    Anyway, I've never gone to a hotel for Pesach.

  6. I still feel that "there's no place like home" and something is definitely lost in the translation when we start having "Pesach with Mickey Mouse".

    This post says it well....