(By Sandy Eller)
Businesses, caterers and volunteer groups are among the many who are geared up for a busy Pesach in Orlando, with as many as 100,000 people making their way to Central Florida for yom tov.
With few formal hotel programs operating and an ideal Chol Hamoed for day tripping, this year’s Pesach created the perfect storm, with Orlando at its epicenter. COVID-weary families eager for a change of pace set their sights on the Sunshine State months ago, with some looking to enjoy a relatively simple yom tov, while others have found ways to create a more luxurious experience.
“Every caterer without a job has shown up on the market to offer full catering,” Miami resident Dovid Goldwasser, who has been actively involved in large scale planning for Pesach in Orlando, told Yeshiva World News. “There are even people who make their own programs with chefs, party planners and waiters.”
Some private home developments function entirely as resort communities, putting up one tent for a shul and another for kiddushim. In certain developments, all the food is prearranged and delivered individually to each home, with a full schedule of programming in place including day camp, shiurim, entertainment and more. Over the past several years, kosher supermarkets in major Jewish communities have given shoppers the opportunity to ship their purchases down to Orlando and Goldwasser’s trucking and logistics company had 12 trucks on the road by Tuesday afternoon transporting luggage, food and cars to Orlando for those who preferred to ship items privately.
“There are so many ways to do this no matter what the budget and there is an option for everybody,” explained Goldwasser.
[READ ALSO: PESACH DISASTER: Hundreds of Homes “Double-Booked” In Orlando, Many Left Without Place For Yom Tov]
Having spent the past seven Pesachs in Orlando, Goldwasser has seen things explode in recent years, but the pandemic pushed things to an even higher level.
“An enormous number of people have newly discovered Orlando this year, because in the height of COVID it was the only option,” noted Goldwasser. “Technically you could go down and quarantine in your own home with your own pool and this year Orlando is on fire.”
Goldwasser recalled how in his first Pesach in Orlando, a fellow Hatzalah member reached out to him two days before yom tov suggesting that they work together as good Samaritans in case any emergencies arose. By the time they sat down to the Seder, they had formed a network of more than 20 Hatzalah members willing to be on hand as EMTs until 911 could respond to a call. While the network of Hatzalah members in Orlando is not operating as an established emergency medical service in any way, 150 calls for service were recorded over Pesach 2019 and Goldwasser estimated there will be 160 Hatzalah members in 12 different resort communities this Pesach.
“It’s a numbers game to me,” said Goldwasser. “The more people there are, the more calls we get, but at the same time, it also means that we will have more Hatzalah people on hand.”
Even while on vacation, Chaverim members are also active in Orlando, responding to a variety of situations including car lockouts, battery issues and flat tires. And understanding that Orlando’s infrastructure of Jewish eateries cannot possibly accommodate the vast influx of visitors, many kosher restaurants from other locations send food trucks to Orlando to pick up some extra business over Pesach.
“There’s milchics, fleishics, ice cream trucks – you name it,” said Goldwasser. “We have seen so many people bringing their businesses down to Orlando over Pesach, from photographers to sheitel machers and more. Everyone brings their talents to Orlando and since they are there anyway, they can service the klal and make some money.”
To reach Hatzalah in Orlando over Pesach, call 407 307 3600. Hatzalah also has a Chesed Fund page to donate.
To reach Chaveirim in Orlando over Pesach, call 407 3085857.
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)
Sometimes I feel like we are the last family who doesn’t “mish” on pesach (we don’t eat any ready-made, take out, processed foods or eat by other homes except close family). We can’t take advantage of any of these things because I would have to either cook every last morsel of food before and ship it down which would require cooking far in advance or cook everything there but go down much earlier and ship all the utensils which isn’t so practical. Is this minhag going “out” like so many other minhagim that I grew up with but don’t see so much anymore? Would love to hear how people who don’t mish manage these programs and rentals because if this becomes a trend, we may find ourselves the only ones home for pesach someday
Oleh regel, or yored regel?
It’s good to know the economy is back and all those rumors that acheinu bnei yisroel lost their shirts/businesses during the Coronavirus was a hoax.
Regardless of what one thinks about the impressive level of mandatory gashmius in the frum veldt, the minhag of not trusting others on Pesach should be abandoned. Yes, my grandparents were the same, but times have changed. Hundreds of families make a parnassah in the catering and related businesses over Pesach, and they deserve to be trusted. The halachah believes this also. A Chaver is a Chaver.
With all these articles you could think that the few people who stayed home, where Pesach should be made, are looking for minyan in the tristate area.
Klal Yisroel makes pesach at home, cleaning, cooking, and giving over their mesorah to the next generation. It’s fine to vacation or enjoy a hotel but it’s not what klal yisroel and pesach is all about.
It’s amazing how 24 hours makes such a difference. Yesterday’s article bemoaned the difficult situation in Orlando. Today’s article sings it’s praises.
Pessach without Orlando just isn’t pessach. When moshiach arrives finally arrives Bumheira Byameinu, how will we manage without Orlando?!
For the nebech’s that aren’t there this year, I wish you with the gantza hartz, “L’shana haba b’Orlando”, v’nomar amen.
Local businesses could use the influx without predatory NY companies stealing it from them. Give the local guys a chance for once.
workingmom, I don’t know your age, but I do recall my frum, but “out of town” grandparents telling me about the days before hechshorim (OU, OK, CRC, ORB, etc), the days before Cholov Yisroel, Pas Yisroel, and strict Glatt observance. We are talking about the days that the town Rav was also the Shochet, the Mohel, the children’s Rebbe, and the shul Rav, fortunate if his paycheck was in the “4 digits”.
I respect your family’s personal minhagim, but disagree with the essence of it. Nowadays, especially in the large metro frum areas, Kashurus has “flavors” that can please just about anyone, including Pesach hotel programs, caterers, restaurants, take-out, packaged products, etc. There are programs that have kashurus standards based upon Lubavitch, Satmir, Yeshivish, mainstream YU, whatever. So, yes the minhagim of “yesteryear” are memorable and fond, there should be no confusion as to why others aren’t following your minhagim of the 1950’s.
While you may not find an OU-P labeled bottle of ketchup acceptable, the vast majority are very comfortable and confident with it. If you wanted Pesadic ketchup back-then, you’d shmush your own tomato and that’s okay if you still choose to do so.
workingmom: we don’t mish either.
what about that article about double booking etc? this paints a rosier picture
A few thoughts
, not a time to be mekatreg on a tzibur of yidden ,
habet mishomayim ureh.. we are sinking in golus..zol shoin zayn Dee geula
let us all rid ourselves of chometz and absorb yom tov wherever we are
I’m sure the locals will be absolutely thrilled
Believe you me,” NOT MISHING” has nothing to do with being religious or being more FRUM, but everything to do – with being a BAAL GAIVAH and transgressing on SINNAS CHINAM, in other words by telling someone I don’t MISH with you,you are basically telling him , I am a better Jew than you are,therefore I cannot trust your KASSHRUS.
It is nothing but pure unadulterated SINNAS CHINAM and racism.
Trust me you ain’t getting GAN AIDEN for this,but the opposite.
It’s high time we should all cut out this BS, and start practicing a little AHAVAS YISROEL
This article make me want to throw up
I’m in total agreement with you. The entire CTL clan will be here in the compound for Pesach. We do not buy or use prepared foods for Pesach (excluding wine).
With a separate Pesach kitchen and refrigerators and freezers, baking and cooking has been going on for weeks.
The last time we ate in another home for Pesach was at my parents’ (A”H) in 1984.
We own a home in Florida, but it’s no vacation to go early and have to shop/schlep/cook after first kashering the kitchen for Pesach. Besides it would never hold the 40+ family members who stay here, and our close relatives who live within close walking distance.
As for taste, I’d wager that our fresh homemade food tastes much better than the boxed/canned/jarred stuff made many months in advance and loaded with preservatives.
I know personally Rabonim that don’t even eat from their own Hechsher.
Soni don’t get where you base your opinion on.
If you looking to keep pesach probably you definitely better not go to hotels.
Hey TGIshabbos- I’m not confused why others don’t follow my minhagim, every family according to their mesorah. I just see a lot of families who used to never mish, who now go to hotels and rentals because they gave up the minhag. But we’ve asked my husband’s rosh yeshiva as well as our own family rav and were told to hold on to our minhagim so here I am cooking all my own food including no vegies that are unpeeled aside from many more that make it impossible for us to rely on even the best pesach hechsherim out there which don’t keep our minhagim. I’m was just curious if there are others in the same boat who have figured out a way to go away for pesach either to Orlando or another locale without major hassle which almost makes it not worth it for us.
Why did Moshe Rabenu lead klal yisroel to wander around Sinai for 40 years when they could have gone directly to Orlando. Just ask any athlete whose team has won a championship and ask them “where are you going”? and you know the answer. Klal yisroel had the greatest victory over Pharoh and the armies of Mitzraim and no one considered the travel options after karias yam suf??
“I’m sure the locals will be absolutely thrilled”
Ye$$$$, I am $$$ure they will. There will still be some local businesses that will gain badly needed revenues, even though much of the food and dishes are probably brought in from out of town.
Chugi you have no idea what you’re talking about. It is a centuries (or longer) old minhag in many communities to not “mish” on Pesach and has nothing to do with your vicious diatribe.