Out Of The Mailbag: (Cautionary Story About Hotels)

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    Y.W. Editor

    Dear YWN readers,

    This past Shabbos my wife, kids and I stayed at a hotel.

    This well-known hotel is located in the Catskills and was advertised in a popular Jewish newspaper.

    The caterer is someone we know slightly, and the mashgiach is well-known and respected in the hashgocho world.

    My wife called the hotel to do some additional research, including asking if the guests were a mixed crowd (in our experiences with frum hotels the crowd usually includes litvish, chasidish, modern, ashkenaz, sfard, and so on).

    The person who answered confirmed that the guests were mixed.

    Once we actually got to the hotel we saw that there were non-frum guests as well.

    In this case however we received the following surprises after Shabbos started:

    4)There were candy machines in the lobby with kosher and what I am 99% sure was treif candy as well.

    7)The Evening Meal (same deal as before with any mention of shalosh seudos or Shabbos) was fleishig.

    8)There was no melava malka.


    can you let us knw which hotel so we dnt all make the same mistake as you


    The perils of going to a “frum hotel.” Oy. The perils of going to a “frum hotel.” When will people learn?


    Thanks for making us aware. Although this one’s a bit extreme, it’s good to take that extra measure of carefullness.

    Y.W. Editor

    The name of the hotel in question, or other hotel names will not be approved.

    Thanks for your understanding.

    YWN Editor.


    What is the point of this article if the writer cant disclose the name of the hotel,

    Is the point to warn us or to have people wrongly assume?


    The best vacation is STAY HOME

    dont go to hotels spend money and come home with this bed memories !!!!


    This is not very suprising to me. Try to go to the non-mixed hotel, you might end up with just what you wanted. In the worst case it wont be mixed.


    Maybe you should view it as a positive experience. It was an opportunity for your family to see that not everyone in the world is as frum as you, and that you can still keep shabbos properly in an environment that was not ideal. And i certainly think Hashem can forgive you for not eating meat on shabbos day.

    Also, I hope you took advantage of the circumstance you found yourself in to do a some kiruv rechokim to encourage the less fortunate to share the beauty Shabbos.


    I understand the point..research where you vacation if you are this machmir or pedantic as to where you spend shabbat,shabbos.

    It is a bit sad to me that even the “frum” heimish men did not volunteer to lein. That is what you are sent to yeshivah for. Someone could have at least given a speech about the parasha. Afterall most of you learn or should catch a shiur online.

    Nowdays frum people vacation anywhere and even make shabbat in a hotel room.

    To complain about a meal without bassar -oy we should all only have these issues. Not everyone cares about that. At long as it is kosher and you have candles to light, wine(gafen) and challah you have a meal. Not every restaurant has bentchers on the table you have to ask for them sometimes. Not every hotel sings zimirot. That is a personal preference. Not everyone observes shabbat in the same way. Some people may want a day of menucha in a place with kosher food.

    Advertising in a frum or jewish paper says nothing. In Florida there are many treif places that advertise in Jewish papers that are displayed at the local shuls.

    People have to be SPECIFIC in what they are asking. Not everyone knows what “mixed crowd” means according to “frum speak”. Not everyone working at a hotel upstate is Jewish or even college educated. The author of this letter should understand this before he/she trashes a hotels reputation. There aren’t many kosher ones left up there anymore.




    I know exactly which hotel the poster is referring to… I was there not too long ago. Outside of the food being kosher under a very reliable name, it ends there.

    I can understand that non-frum people go there and don’t keep Shabbos. I don’t expect the hotel to exclude people on that basis, but I do expect a hotel which advertises in frum newspapers and sends letters to frum shuls about themselves to at least be frum-friendly.

    One of the most offensive things were that they have someone playing the keyboard on Shabbos in the lobby. My wife asked him if he could instead come over and sing to our kids (we were the only ones in the lobby). It turned out he wasn’t Jewish, and perhaps they have ‘kosher’ arrangements with how he’s paid, but it’s still inappropriate for such an organization to do.

    The other most offensive thing was that in terms of keeping mitzvos, you’re on your own. Work around their meal schedule, bring your own siddur, arrange with other patrons for a minyan… there’s no davening schedule and it would be impossible to daven with a minyan and eat your seudahs at a regular time.

    There was also kol isha for the after Shabbos entertainment and drinks for sale during the Shabbos afternoon entertainment.

    On the other hand, on Friday and Sunday we had the pool to ourselves. There’s an indoor and outdoor pool and we were able to go in as a family… had it been busy, it would have been a problem. No separate men’s and women’s hours.

    If you go up with a frum group, I hear it isn’t a problem and they are accommodating. However, it’s really a shame because the place is so large and could be attracting such a larger clientele by being truly Shomer Shabbos.

    Jersey Jew


    hate to break it to you but they dont teach laining 101 in yeshivas. i have no idea how to lain (torah) and it has nothing to do with yeshiva. its more to do with not having the minhag to do so for my bar mitzva (not that i could lain haftora too well if at all).

    as far as his problem. I think he went to the wrong place. Simple. If he wanted to know about the place he should have asked DETAILED questions. My father A”H was the mashgiach in a well known hotel for over 20 years and he always got calls from people wanting to know if the place was for them. With the amount of people who didnt come after speaking to him, they could have opened a new location for those special clientele.

    Jersey Jew

    What I would suggest is that something be said to the kashrus agency that certifies this place. There is almost no reason for them to be mechalel shabbos b’farhesia like he mentions. Most RELIABLE agencies who certify a hotel on a full time basis will make sure the staff is aware of what they can or cant do in public. Its complex but it can work.


    I know that the OU does not allow food to be served when there is public Chillul Shabbos (i.e. microphone) in the dining room.

    Once you became aware of what was going on, you should have gone into the kitchen to look around, and probably would not have eaten the food after that.



    I agree with you in many ways. There is a professional way to handle things without trashing reputations and you have the right idea.


    I took Mr. Spira’s advice and contacted the kashrus agency. The Rav said that this hotel has been this way for 100 years and isn’t changing any time soon. The kitchen is glatt kosher, but outside of that it’s like going to a regular Holiday Inn and don’t expect anything.


    Unless the advertisement specified all of the frum accoutrements that were expected of the hotel, I don’t think that there is reason for such upset here, or certainly of ch’v trashing the reputation and parnasah of a truly kosher place. As someone mentioned there aren’t so many around any more. So a piano was playing by a non-Jew. I’m not sure which halacha was broken? Dagim instead of Basar was served for lunch with milchig, and Basar was served at six (still Shabbos). Nu? Again, maybe not the way we are used to, but if the food was plentiful and kosher was there so much to complain about? Were z’mirot truly out of the question? I’m not sure why. I bench out loud with my class in the Bronx Zoo if we’ve eaten lunch there. I have never had anything but positive curiosity from onlookers. Perhaps if we try to be a bit more tolerant, we could be an “ohr lagoyim” instead of a people who act as if it is all not perfect that “tumah” permeates. A great nation can create Kedushah anywhere. In fact had I been there I would have been proud to create a real Shabbos for my family in the real world that we live in! Again, there was wine, challah, kosher food, and more than a minyan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Think BIG

    Irhakodesh and milchig:

    I think you are missing the author’s point a little . He is upset because he feels he was MISLED. Or at least, he expected one thing and he got something completely different. When you take your wife and kids out for a special shabbos, and it turns out to be a ttally different environment than you wanted to expose your kids to, it can be very upsetting. They did do the basic research, but they didn’t know exactly what they were supposed to look out for. This resulted in a very unpleasant shabbos for them, because when you are paying good money and have certain expectations, and they are not met, you feel disapointed. This is reasonable, despsite the fact that they could have made the best of a bad situation (which they probably did). “Tolerance” has no bearing on the discussion here!

    In fact I think the tone of the letter was very apropriate, they were not even blaming the organization. The point was just to be modiah the olam to the situation so that others could save themselves the heartache they went thru. Thank you to the letter writers for taking the time to write.

    Think BIG


    1.I don’t see anyone “trashing” anyone’s reputation as no names were mentioned!

    2. The point here wasn’t to be “professional” about handling things with the hotel, or getting them to change (though that may not be a bad idea). He was merely trying to warn others to be more careful than he was. read the letter again.


    Think Big – thank you for your response. I agree with much of what you said. Perhaps if the title had been “I didn’t do my research” rather than “cautionary story about hotels,” I would have responded differently. Even though they were not blaming the organization, people can easily figure out which hotel is being spoken about and they might have hurt the organization big time. I don’t agree that “”Tolerance” has no bearing on the discussion here!” – a little tolerance can go a long way.


    As per special request, this has been “bumped back” to the 1st page as a reminder for our summertime travelers.


    Thank you so much for this enlightening story.

    Please may I take this opportunity to remind people that in Israel many hotels employ staff on shabbos who are Jewish so please be careful when ordering something and the waiter/ess starts writing down your request or doing anything else Mukser (sp?)

    We always check before shabbos with the Hotel Manager what the staffing policy is over Shabbos/Yom Tov


    Good reminder. Now if only I could actually afford to go to a hotel…

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