Traveling for Passover

The practice of traveling during Passover is a lesser-known Jewish tradition

The Passover holiday has a host of historical traditions, from eating matzo to drinking four cups of wine at the Seder dinner. But one of the lesser-known traditions practiced during Passover is that of traveling away from home. As an eight-day celebration with many specific preparations tied to it, it's easy to see why traveling with family and people with similar religious beliefs would be an attractive option.

For those less familiar with the holiday of Passover, it begins with a Seder dinner — a feast at which prayers are said and the story of the Israelites’ freedom from slavery in Egypt and subsequent exodus is retold. The order of the evening is very specific, beginning with blessings and the first of four cups of wine, and followed by cleansing of the hands, breaking the matzo, the meal, and traditional Seder songs and prayers. The tradition of drinking four cups of wine derives from God’s promises in a passage of Exodus. The matzo is eaten to represent the Israelites’ exodus; it is said that they rushed out of Egypt so quickly that their bread didn’t have time to rise. As a result, no leavened products can be eaten during Passover.

But traveling during Passover is a less-discussed practice, even though there are tours, hotel packages, cruises, outfitters, and travel agents who specialize in kosher travel year-round, and specifically for Passover. TotallyJewishTravel is an all-encompassing online resource for Jews looking for kosher travel opportunities. They offer advice and deals on hotels from the U.S. to the Caribbean and from Thailand to the Bahamas, as well as kosher restaurant listings and kosher city guides.

Kosherica is a Glatt kosher cruise operator, offering vacations everywhere from Russia to Alaska to the Caribbean. Kosherica cruises focus largely on serving gourmet Maritime Glatt kosher cuisine for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and even at their "midnight nosh," of freshly baked pastries. Specifically for Passover, Kosherica offers specific travel programs featuring kosher-for-Passover cuisine and hotels reserved entirely for their guests. This year’s vacation is to the PGA National Resort and Spa.

Of course, Kosherica, TotallyJewishTravel, and all other kosher travel resources, like Kosher Travelers, offer tours, kosher hotel and restaurant recommendations, and itineraries in Israel. Kosherica’s Passover hotels in Israel are the Ramat Rachel Hotel, Jerusalem’s "country club-style" resort, and the Ramada Netanya Passover Hotel just outside Tel Aviv.