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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Vacation Vicissitudes

This really does sound like the vacation from hell:

The Jewish tour group, Club Kosher, claims that a Dominican hotel agreed to accommodate 800 travelers, mostly families, and their dietary needs for a winter vacation in January 2004, but its accommodations were completely unorthodox. They filed suit last month in Manhattan federal court against the hotel's Spanish owners, Occidental Hotel Management, for more than $2 million.

Coinciding with winter break at Hebrew school, Club Kosher reserved a weeklong, all-inclusive vacation to Allegre Playa Grande.

Club Kosher co-owner Charles Rosenay said that the hotel agreed to allow the tour company's eight mashgiach - rabbis who supervise food preparation - two days to "kosher the kitchen" and prepare for the holiday package. Jewish law bars certain types of food, including pork or shellfish, and forbids the mixing of meat and dairy foods. It also requires that all kosher food and dishes be kept separate from non-kosher food.

The tour group brought all their own plates and food, said Rosenay. They were supposed to have exclusive access to the resort, he said.

But soon after they arrived, outside guests checked in.

"They paid their money. They wanted cheeseburgers and they wanted to drink booze," Rosenay said.

At one point, fed up with the staff's indifference to kosher rules, a mashgiach smashed a plate after he caught the staff using it for non-kosher food. Soon the entire security staff showed up with billy clubs in hand and one of them pulled a gun, Rosenay said.

Sounds like a disaster - especially when you take into account the huge number of Orthodox travelers who were expecting a week of worry-free kosher meals - according to the article, 800 families!

They kosher group is, of course, filing the obligatory lawsuit.


Blogger YMedad said...

If they would have watched TV occasionally, this - http://www.fawltysite.net/ - they would have been a bit more wary.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Lion of Zion said...

I would never trust the kashrut of a hotel that is normally not kosher, whether it is in the Catskills, the Dominican Republic or anywhere else.

And what a waste of money by 800 families that could have been spent on a vacation in Israel. At least they did not go there for Pesach, something I will never understand.

12:20 AM  
Blogger MoChassid said...

what Ari said.

They should have gone to Israel.

2:51 PM  
Blogger David said...

I've never really understood going away for the pesah vacations in hotels, myself - it sounds appealling for about 10 minutes when I'm in the throes of kashering, but then the urge passes...

But still, that's a huge disappointment for those folks.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Goy Guy said...

"They kosher group is, of course, filing the obligatory lawsuit"

As well they might, since I'm sure 800 lawsuits will be coming their way anytime now from the angry people that got screwed over by their poor management of this tour. Let's see, 800 people at at LEAST a thousand bucks a pop. So thats well over a million bucks coming through their fingers, with a tidy commission sticking to them, and no one went down there first to check this joint out?

A quick look at their website shows 300 rooms. Did they book 300 rooms? If not they had to know that there would be other guests. Eating cheeseburgers ;-)

I feel sorry for the families, but not so sorry for the travel agent. It's HIS job to make sure everything's on the up and up before taking all that dough from these people.

11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As usual, Orthomom publishes an article without any fact checking and her "fans" reply as if what she's writing is truth.

The first sentence reads, "The Jewish tour group, Club Kosher, claims that a Dominican hotel agreed to accommodate 800 travelers, mostly families..." but the final sentence reads "according to the article, 800 families!"

Actually, it's 800 travelers, not 800 families! (Can you imagine trying to fit 800 families in 300 rooms? Impossible!)

Yet another example of OrthoMom twisting the facts to bolster an argument.

12:03 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Yet another example of OrthoMom twisting the facts to bolster an argument.

Um, "another example"? And what argument, exactly, am I making here that I so desparately needed to bolster by "twisting the facts"? "Fact checking"? What in the world does fact checking have to do with what was clearly more an issue of a lack of (admitted) careful reading?

You have issues, anon.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Pesach from Hell. We traveled once with Club Kosher and the highlight of the trip was a shortage of food. They would bring one bag of potato chips to the "tea-room" to feed hundreds of guests. They sent people on day excursions with cans of tuna and no can openers. The next year we went to Israel.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They got ripped off. They shouldn't sue to get their money back?

11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ripping up your world at home, in the kitchen, the heart of the home, for Pesach, and experiencing that it's not the end of the world is the POINT anyway! This teaches that it's G-d who takes care of us, NOT our comfortable routines. It's like re-living the Exodus, and it's wonderful.

It is a learning experience and there is no substitute for it.

So WHAT if you can't find a bottle opener. You find out what is really important. It is liberating.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we went on the vacation. we had called the hotel to try and book a room not with this group and we could have. we were told it was supposed to be exclusive kosher travelers and indeed it was not. we had an emergency at home and we never received any messages regarding the fact even after the person calling asked to speak to mr rosenay the head of our groups.club kosher is great it is this hotel was awful.

9:10 PM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Club kosher is the best vacation anyone can go on. It is very reasonable and they go beyond your wildest imagination. We have been with them 4 years. Two years we went to Israel to visit our daughters studying. One year my husband could not get off from work. This is a first choice vacation. you will have no regrets.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Tourist and Visitor Info

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to make your stay in Dominican Republic more enjoyable.

Kosher Food available through Chabad

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