Rabbi Yosef Konikov and his team of Chabad emissaries are preparing for the expected throngs who will spend Passover in this city.
An estimated 6,000 families (at least 30,000 people) will be spending the 8-day holiday here. Rabbi Konikov is busy serving tourists all year round in his shul and kosher restaurant but nothing compares to what he will be facing over the Passover holiday.
This week, he will be koshering the kitchens of the many private homes that were rented for the holiday. With the help of a team of yeshiva students, they will prepare the kitchens for Passover.
His shul – Chabad of South Orlando at 7347 W Sand Lake Road – will be a hub of activity including hosting a Seder for several hundred people and having regular minyanim. He will have plenty of wine and matzoh for those who need it.
He also organized two concerts (on Monday and Wednesday of Chol Hamoed) with Chasidic superstars Zusha and Benny Friedman which will be held at the JCC auditorium.
For the thousands vacationing here, it will either be food lugged from home, or from such caterers as Weberman, Moti, Sharon Beck, Batya’s, and Richter. The Grove Kosher Supermarket is also delivering truckloads of food to the vacationers.
In addition to the hundreds of rented homes, many will be at such resorts as the Hyatt Regency, Waldorf Astoria, and DoubleTree hotels. Although Orlando has been a destination for many a Jewish holiday, record crowds are expected this year because of the week-long Chol Hamoed.
For Rabbi Konikov and his team, serving an instant large Jewish community is a challenge they are well prepared for.