Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Coming back to work and real life after a beautiful Pesach where I tried to do as little paper-related work as possible is never easy and this week was pretty challenging. But I made it back and I am sitting here now fully in the throes of another intense deadline day…and I am still thinking about Pesach, as I think many of our readers are as well. At what point do we stop asking people how their Pesach was? I think I will still be asking that for at least another week or two or more.

For the past two years, my family and I have been blessed to be able to spend a full Pesach away with our longtime advertisers the Schechter Family at their Marco Polo Beach Resort/Ramada Plaza hotel in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. It is one of the few Pesach programs in Florida literally on the beach, which is something that my wife really enjoys. (I don’t have anything against the beach per se but I do have general issues with the sun and getting sunburned.)

The Schechter family name is practically legendary in the Jewish hotel and Pesach program world and they have been in the business for over three quarters of a century by my count, going back to the renowned Pioneer Country Club in the Catskills and the famed Schechter’s Kosher Caribbean Hotel in Miami Beach. Nearly everyone that I know in our community who ever visited Miami or the Catskills in the last 50-75 years—which is pretty much everyone—is familiar with the Schechter family and their hotels.

In addition to the Pesach program I attended, which they have been running successfully for nearly 25 years, the Schechter family also runs a program in partnership with the Gross family of Sharmel Caterers in our home state of New Jersey, at the Hilton Doubletree Somerset Hotel & Conference Center. Many families from our coverage areas and readership attend both of these programs and a good number return year after year. They are certainly doing something right and run great Pesach programs that our family and many others enjoy immensely. Yashar Koach to Mr. Ricky Schechter and to all of his children and family members, especially Joey Cavalier, who directed the Marco Polo program. Keep up all that you are doing!

I can also attest strongly to the fact that this year’s program was even better than last year’s. Although I am not the world’s biggest foodie, it was clear even to me that the presentation and menus had been upgraded and virtually all of the real kosher foodies at the program felt similarly. The shiurim and speakers were outstanding and I enjoyed interacting with and learning from a good acquaintance, YU professor, researcher, consultant, and super-knowledgeable Dr. Scott Goldberg of Passaic. He shared a number of stories from his days learning in Israel and under Rav Shlomo Wolbe that I will remember for a long time. My family and I also greatly enjoyed the concerts by Jewish music veteran Aryeh Kunstler and rising star Joey Newcomb (watch out for him!), as well as an incredible magic show by Eric Wilzig.

All in all, it was a wonderful and relaxing Yom Tov overall and we were happy to meet a nice number of new families from all over and to see and reconnect with some of the friends we made last year. The crowd was a good mix of heimish, modern, Sephardic, and even a few yeshivishe families from all over the East Coast with most from Northern NJ, the Five Towns, and a few from Monsey. We also walked a lot and had the chance to visit other friends in the area as well. I also made some new connections for The Jewish Link and with prospective advertisers, although I refrained from the hard sales pitches until after Yom Tov.

We’re back now...but I am still thinking about this most recent Pesach. However, no more time to dawdle as I have to finish this week’s edition. Have a great Shabbat!

By Moshe Kinderlehrer, 
Co-Founder & Co-Publisher - The Jewish Link of NJ