Reprinted from The Jewish Press of New York
NEW YORK—Observant Jews looking to travel far from home once had to confine themselves to day trips and packed sandwiches
Those days are long over. Luxury glatt kosher travel options, which took off with vacation packages for Passover, have expanded dramatically in recent years.
Now, Pure Tiyulim.com, a leading glatt kosher event and vacation tour operator, has chosen Disneyland in California as its venue to deliver a complete Sukkot experience, including accommodations at a luxury resort, gourmet glatt kosher cuisine, a huge sukkah built on the Disneyland Resort Dream Lawn, and a discounted rate on tickets to the Disneyland park.
World-famous music star Lipa Schmeltzer will perform two concerts on Chol Hamoed as part of the program. Produced by Sheya Mendlowitz, the concert will be conducted by renowned musical director Yisroel Lamm, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Chai Lifeline, the international children's health organization.
Pure Tiyulim.com recognizes that vacation packages for observant Jews must meet a very high standard for quality and personalized service.
In this package, guests will stay at the Disneyland Paradise Pier Hotel, which is a beach-themed resort in walking distance to the theme park's main entrances. At the hotel, guests will be able to participate in daily minyanim, lectures by renowned scholars and rabbis, and special activities for children. The tour will also include a medical conference and attendees will be eligible for both continuing medical and legal education credits. Pure Tiyulim.com is even making lulav and etrog sets available to guests.
Overseeing the kashrut standards will be Rabbi Eliezer Eidlitz, who has served as the rav hamachshir for the successful Pesach with the Chevra tour.
Pure Tiyulim.com is one of the first glatt kosher tour companies to offer an innovative online booking system to make it as simple and convenient as possible for guests to register.
"We're attending to every possible detail," said Tim Webster, who founded Pure Tiyulim.com in 2007 along with Chaim Kaminetzky, operator of Pesach with the Chevra. "We are determined not just to meet our clients' high expectations, but to exceed them."
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According to Rabbi Eidlitz, Pure Tiyulim.com draws its strength from the Kaminetzky-Webster team.
"Chaim's devotion to Klal Yisroel [the Jewish people] and to honesty," said Rabbi Eidlitz, "and Tim's devotion to pleasing the guests and doing the right thing, along with his talent of planningand following through, make this a unique combination of strengths that the guests benefit from throughout the program."
"Orthodox Jews today want to be able to experience the adventure of first class world travel, but things like keeping Shabbat and keeping kosher are not negotiable," said Webster. "We bring all of those elements together." Past Pure Tiyulim.com glatt kosher packages have included a food and wine trip to Europe, as well as luxury tours throughout Australia and New Zealand.
"We look forward to providing families with our world-renowned Disney guest service," said Robert Donahue, who represents Disneyland's Resort Sales and Services.
"A great advantage of having Sukkot 2009 at the Disneyland Resort is that families staying at our beautiful hotels are just footsteps away from all of wonderful festivities and Disney magic," said Donahue.
For many, Lipa is the biggest attraction. "We're honoring Lipa by building in an extra opportunity to give tzedakah and support a tremendously worthy cause," said Webster.
A portion of the concert proceeds will support Chai Lifeline's network of two-dozen free programs and services that provide emotional, social and financial support to more than 3,400 children with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses and their families.
Randi Grossman, west coast director of Chai Lifeline, has worked with Lipa in the past and is "honored to be the designated charity for the Lipa Schmeltzer concert."
Lipa has a special relationship with the children of Chai Lifeline. "His performance at Camp Simcha this year was an incredible experience for our children and for him," said Grossman. "You could feel the energy in the room, and you knew that every child was infused with the spirit of the music."
Webster is happy to be part of an industry that is facilitating good deeds and bringing families together. "We're pioneering new ways for families to celebrate holidays together and we're offering experiences that will become the memories that last a lifetime," he said.