Passover Program Coming to the Las Vegas Strip

The new program, which will run from April 4-16, is just the start of Torah observance on the Strip.
February 22, 2023
Resorts World Las Vegas. Photo by Logan Frick under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

When Jews visit Las Vegas, they have to go off the Strip to celebrate Shabbat, find kosher food and be near the community. The closest synagogues are miles away, and not within walking distance of the hotels.

Now, a non-profit organization called The Shabbat Inc. is looking to change that, beginning with a Passover program right in the heart of the Strip at Resorts World. The new program, which will run from April 4-16, is just the start of Torah observance on the Strip; it kicks off year-round Shabbatonim (communal Shabbats) with a fully stocked five-star kosher kitchen at the hotel.

Aryeh Rifkin

“Imagine a Shabbaton bringing kedusha (holiness) to the Las Vegas strip,” said Aryeh Rifkin, president and founder of The Shabbat Inc. “You no longer need to imagine it, because it’s here.”

Jewish singles and families will be able to have an authentic, traditional experience at the Passover program, which includes visits to Mt. Charleston, Zion National Park and Red Rock Canyon. It will also feature a choreographed sing-along Haggadah with acapella band Shir Soul, Moshav Band, Six13, classes with rabbis, comedy with Mark Schiff, Daniel Lobell and Brian Kiley and discount tickets to events around town for Chol Hamoed, the intermediary days.

Our mission is to bring Jews closer together.” – Aryeh Rifkin

To ensure the program is as inclusive as possible, it will be non-gebrochts and kitniyot free, as well as provide Chassidish meat and cholav Yisrael dairy to adhere to the strictest kashrut standards under International Kosher Mehadrin. Rifkin negotiated Shabbos elevators with Resorts World so participants can avoid using electricity on the non-work days of Passover as well as Shabbat. He also got Resorts World to change the plumbing fixtures in the hotel to non-automated – a huge undertaking.

There will be an indoor playground for kids and teens that’s about 20,000 square feet, opportunities for singles to meet and separate swimming hours for men and women.

“Our programming is for singles, families and children, and we welcome any observant hashkafah (outlook): Sephardic, Orthodox, Chabad, Carlebachian, etcetera,” said Rifkin. “The size and elasticity of Resorts World provides us the unique opportunity to run simultaneous programs for singles, couples and kids of all ages. The Shabbat Inc. welcomes hosting Jewish organizations and private events.”

Rifkin, who founded JACLA, a Jewish events space in Pico-Robertson, hired heavy hitters such as ex-Angeleno Michal Taviv-Margolese, who is director of guest relations, events planner Tahlia Miller and Jodi Weiss, who runs Shul on the Beach in Venice, to help with The Shabbat’s Passover and year-round programs.

Taviv-Margolese, who moved to Vegas during the pandemic, was surprised that there wasn’t something for observant Jews on the Strip already.

“Even though it’s such a big capital for so many conventions, and even though the community is one of the fastest growing in the country, there’s nothing solidly happening on the Strip,” she said. “Our goal is to ensure every single guest and family feels part of this growing and vibrant community, and are connected through fantastic entertainment, inspired davening, the great and gorgeous outdoors, networking possibilities and so much more.”

Finding Resorts World and deciding to put on the Passover program and year-round festivities was not easy for Rifkin. But, as a baal teshuva and a cancer survivor, he’s passionate about having – and creating – meaningful experiences that help Jews engage with Judaism, each other and God.

“I contacted and toured 55 Las Vegas resorts and found only one capable and willing to work with the Jewish community,” he said. “As all this was coming together, I worked night and day developing videos, marketing materials, digital assets [and] messaging and [managing] a team of web developers. I work every minute I’m awake. Still, it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, although my salary is only $1.00.”

Since this is an introductory program, and The Shabbat Inc.’s number one goal is simply to offer a fulfilling and positive experience, prices are lower than that of a typical Passover program.

“Our mission is pure,” Rifkin said. “Our mission is to bring Jews closer together.”

Find out more and register for Passover at TheShabbat.org.

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