Jewish Getaways


 

Looking for a getaway with a Jewish twist? With Passover approaching and summer down the road, there are many opportunities for such travel. Here are a few options:

Seders Far and Near

When it comes to celebrating Passover, you can truly be a wandering Jew, thanks to an abundance of tour packages:

Spend Passover in Hollywood — Florida that is — or in one of six other Sunshine State resorts, including the Ritz Carlton, Naples.

Lasko Family Kosher Tours’ Passover packages include daily services and Torah lectures, glatt kosher gourmet meals, entertainment, private or group seders and activities for adults and children. Phoenix, Arizona and Westchester, N.Y., programs also available.

For information, call (800) 532-9119 or go to www.laskotours.com.

Ciao bella! It’s off to Italy’s Venice Lido, where you can spend Passover gazing at the Mediterranean from your beachfront resort. With 47 years in the business, Leisure Time Tours is also offering glatt kosher Passover packages in Arizona, Florida or New York’s Catskill Mountains.

(800) 223-2624; www.leisuretimetours.com.

Tequila anyone? Le Voyage Travel offers packages at Club Med Ixtapa and the Hilton Los Cabos. Glatt kosher buffets, entertainment, children’s programs and, of course, seders are included in these waterfront excursions.

(877) 452-8744; www.levoyage.com.

Sun, sand and seders await at Club Kosher’s “Passover in Paradise” at the Hilton Cancun Beach and Golf Resort. Glatt kosher meals, including a special children’s menu; family and communal seders; daily Torah lectures; evening entertainment; and children’s programs are included.

(866) 567-4372; www.clubkosher.com.

You won’t have to jump into the Red Sea, but you can do a 135-foot bungee jump. Israeli tour operator Tal Tour is offering Pesach in Acapulco. It boasts sky-diving, water-skiing and speed-boating among its many activities. The package includes glatt kosher cuisine, youth programs and entertainment, as well as an onsite synagogue and mikvah.

(800) 825-9399; www.pesachinmexico.com.

It’s all in the details. Global Tours will help you make your travel arrangements for Passover and year-round. Check out its airfare specials.

(800) 881-9230; www.globaltours.com.

Sometimes paradise is as close as your own backyard. World Wide Kosher Tours offers packages at three Southern California luxury resorts: The Lodge at Rancho Mirage, Hilton San Diego Del Mar Resort Hotel, and Loews Coronado Bay Resort. Packages include a choice of group, private or even adult-only seders; lectures and shiurim, children’s programs, outdoor activities and Glatt Kosher meals. (323) 525-0015  www.mypassover.com

Chant and Plant

Jewish National Fund’s (JNF) Travel & Tours has developed a bar and bat mitzvah in Israel program that will start this summer. The tour includes a group ceremony at the southern Wall excavations and group dinner reception celebration.

“In the past, we’ve done private bar and bat mitzvah tours. And now, with the situation having calmed down in Israel, more families want to celebrate their simcha in Israel,” said Michelle Blacher, JNF director of Travel & Tours. “It’s more affordable for families if they join a tour, and it also gives them more activities for the children.”

The packed itinerary includes visits to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Safed, Masada and the Dead Sea. Participants will also explore tunnels beneath the Western Wall, take part in an archeological dig, kayak on the Jordan River and, of course, plant trees in a JNF forest. A three-day optional extension in Eilat is also available.

The first summer excursion departs June 5, and a December trip is also scheduled. (877) 359-4262; www.jnf.org/travel.

North to Alaska

Admire scenic fjords and vast glaciers while kibitzing with new friends during an eight-day Alaska cruise organized by Jewish tour operator Amazing Journeys and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh.

The cruise, which departs Aug. 12, is open to singles, couples and families. Packages include accommodations, shipboard meals and entertainment, customized and discounted group tours and Shabbat services. Kosher meals can be arranged upon request.

Participants can extend their trip with an optional precruise land tour in Vancouver or a post-cruise visit to Alaska’s interior and Denali National Park.

Amazing Journeys associate Michele Fakiro promises that on every trip the company organizes “even if you don’t know anyone on the first day, we can guarantee that you will make new friends for life.”

www.amazingjourneys.net.

 

Enjoy Wedded Bliss in Lotus Position


Not every couple’s notion of the ideal honeymoon entails a hedonistic beach resort and lots of fruity drinks garnished with umbrellas. Some want to begin married life with yoga.

Some couples pursue tantric yoga, a form that includes a tranquil sexuality, in hopes of creating a powerful union of mind, body and spirit. The Institute for Ecstatic Living — (877) 982-6872; www.ecstaticliving.com — organizes tantric vacations to Costa Rica, Hawaii and cruise getaways.

If that sounds a bit too New Age, there are other benefits to learning yoga as a couple. First, one partner can help the other get into the asanas, or poses, sort of like using a spotter in weight lifting. Second, yoga helps with the pursuit of other sports and activities. Finally, it’s fun.

When planning a yoga honeymoon, consider how much yoga each of you is likely to want to practice. Most spa resorts include some yoga as part of their overall fitness program, while some retreats offer more intensive yoga instruction. Unless both of you are experienced yogis, you’ll likely want a getaway that combines quality yoga instruction with other activities. In many cases, a resort with a high-quality destination spa will keep both partners happy. Here are some getaways to get you started:

Pura Vida Spa — (888) 767-7375; www.puravidaspa.com — in Costa Rica has special yoga weeks with guest instructors throughout the year, including a tantric week for couples. You can book its "Mind/Body/Spirit Adventure Week" any time. It includes seven nights’ lodging, daily yoga classes, hiking and a rain-forest excursion from $1,100-$2,000 per person, double occupancy.

New Age Health Spa — (800) 682-4348; www.newagehealthspa.com — in New York’s Catskill Mountains has rates starting at $174 per person, per night, double occupancy, two-night minimum. That rate includes daily yoga classes. The spa also hosts weekend-long yoga programs for more intensive instruction.

In nearby Big Sur, Post Ranch Inn — (800) 527-2200; www.postranchinn.com — overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is decidedly deluxe. Accommodations start at $485 per night. Guests can join daily yoga classes in The Yurt, as well as sample tai chi and qigong. The inn is surrounded by scenic hiking trails.

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa — (800) 422-2736; www.nemacolin.com — in Farmington, Pa., offers a "Couples Vacation." Accommodations range from lodge rooms to luxurious townhouse suites. Rates start at $185 per night.

Shambhala Spa at Parrot Cay — (877) 754-0726; www.parrot-cay.com — in Turks and Caicos, British West Indies, has special "Healing Weeks" scheduled throughout the year. Many feature guest yoga instructors. Prices vary, depending on the program, but one six-night yoga retreat is $4,610, double occupancy. That includes accommodations, three meals daily, five hours of yoga and meditation instruction each day, plus two hours of massage therapy during the week.

The new Mii amo Spa at Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Ariz. — (888) 749-2137; www.miiamo.com — is located right next to one of the seven "spiritual vortices" that make the area a mecca for New Age travelers. In addition to spa treatments, Mii amo hosts four-day yoga retreats that teach guests how to incorporate yoga into their daily lives. Four-night spa getaways start at $1,750.

Finally, one way to support Israel at this time is to honeymoon at a spa in the Jewish State, which offer yoga and exercise along with spa treatments. The Carmel Forest Spa Resort in the Carmel Mountains — www.inisrael.com/isrotel/hotels/carmel_forest_spa_resort — has Internet rates that range from $270 single on weekdays (Saturday to Wednesday) to $570 double on weekends for a deluxe suite.

Mizpe Hayamim, above the Sea of Galilee, offers a variety of treatments and massages. Internet rates at www.mizpe-hayamim.com — range from $179 single during the regular season (which is now) to $367 double for a two-person executive suite during the peak season, which includes the High Holidays and Passover.

Article courtesy Copley News Service.


Alison Ashton is a San Diego-based freelance travel and health writer.