April 18, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Nearby Shavuos Getaways 2013

Pesach just ended and before you blink Shavuos is right around the corner. Most of us are counting the days until we arrive at one of most unfamous of Jewish holidays. Known in English as “The Festival of Weeks,” your coworkers will ask why you are taking off on a Wednesday and Thursday in May. You can start explaining the significance of receiving the Torah and its importance in Jewish history, or you can say you are getting together with family for a quick local getaway. If you stayed home for all of Pesach and are itching to get out of town, there are options out there that include extraordinary speakers and learning as well as delicious catered meals. For those of you who are a little more adventurous and frugal, there are a bring-your-own-food lodging alternatives.

Here’s a list of a few local options for those that have to get back to work on Friday.

Gateways at Stamford Plaza Hotel, Stamford, CT

If you have trouble staying up all night learning, this all-star cast of speakers will surely stop you from dozing off. Rabbi Becher is an awe-inspiring speaker and covers so many topics so quickly he will keep you on your toes. Rebetetzin Jungreis and Rabbi Paysach Krohn are also very engaging and entertaining orators. Close to the city, Stamford is easy to get to via mass transit or a quick drive on I-95.  Gateways is known for its fantastic shadchanim to help singles connect throughout the holiday.  A full day-camp is available as well for those coming with the entire family.  The entire hotel will be exclusive to the Gateways program, so if you are scouting the lobby for singles, you don’t have to wonder if they are part of the program, you just have to check for a ring. For more info visit: http://gatewaysonline.com/retreats/holiday-retreats

Hudson Valley Resort, Kerhonkson, NY

I spent last Shavuos in the Catskills with Flakey Jakey and his crew. True to the time honored tradition of heading up to the mountains in the summer, Shavuos is the official start of the Jewish summer season (not Memorial Day). The Hudson Valley resort is still in a time warp , hence the decor and style are quite dated. Although I was prepared last year to BYOS (bring your own sheets), I am happy to say that we were pleasantly surprised. The Tower rooms were quite nice and would be comparable to a 3-star hotel (no 500 thread count sheets here). But who spends their time in the room anyway. The caterer from Brooklyn, Benny, was fantastic and offered a wide array of choices for each meal. The grounds are nice and there was a lake to walk to, a kids’ playground, and mini golf that we enjoyed. This is a bit of a trek from NYC, but worth the ride if you crave an authentic Catskills getaway. There is no website for the program, so visit www.hudsonvalleyresort.com  for resort details, and call Flakey Jakey to sign up for the kosher program at: 718-436-0682

REITS Yarchei Kallah at the Rye Town Hilton, Rye, NY

Run by Yeshiva University and catered by Chap-a-nosh, this program is sold out again this year. It is just that popular. Featured speakers include YU president Richard Joel as well as several distinguished Roshei Yeshiva and faculty. This is a great program to reconnect with old YU Alumni and staff. The Rye Town Hilton is a nice modern hotel with lovely accommodations and easy to get to from NYC.  For more info visit: http://yu.edu/riets/shavuos/

Jersey Shore

If an organized program is not your thing and you can survive two days with a tiny fridge filled with blintzes, the Jersey shore has several options. Within one hour of NYC there are two hotels with shuls nearby.

The Ocean Palace Hotel in Long Branch www.oceanplace.com  is located right on the beach and has indoor and outdoor pools. Ask for a corner room, they offer much more space than the regular rooms.  Within 30 minutes walking distance are two shuls: Congregation Shaare Ezra, a Syrian Synagogue located at 36 Cedar Ave and the Chabad of the Shore located at 620 Ocean Avenue.  If sitting by the beach in the early summer and walking down the boardwalk to shul sounds appealing, the Ocean Palace is a great choice.

The Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, formerly The Berkeley Cartaret, www.berkeleyhotelnj.com,  is almost half the price as The Ocean Palace and is still right on the beach. The hotel has undergone a major renovation from the days it hosted NCSY winter regional, so don’t expect the beat-up mattresses and musty smell that you may remember.  There is no indoor pool, and the outdoor pool will probably not open until after Memorial Day. Within 35 minutes walking distance there are also two shuls: The Synagogue of Deal, 128 Norwood Ave, and the Edmond J. Safra Synagogue of Deal, 75 Hathaway Ave. Asbury Park has come a long way and the downtown area has plenty of nice new shops.

By Ben Cohen

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