The Pesach Retreat South Africa once again offered guests an incredible Pesach experience.
Imagine being whisked away to a beautiful hotel outside the city, away but not far away… Where your senses are bathed in the freshness of the air, sounds of birds, and picturesque views of the flowing waters and lush gardens.
Where the chazzan, choir, rabbis, and participants daven in a shul sharing a variety of beautiful customs. Your senses are further treated to exotic cuisine catered by celebrated executive chef Alan Bender.
A Pesach where the intellect is kept busy with workshops, Divrei Torah and lectures that stimulate your mind and inspire your soul.
This is just some of what the many guests enjoyed at this year’s Pesach Retreat at the luxurious Bon Hotel Riviera on Vaal, located just a 45 minute drive from Johannesburg, South Africa.
Guests were welcomed with an abundance of culinary delights, entertainment programs for the children and a saxaphonic performance. The Yom Tov services were led by the sweet tenor voice of celebrated Chazan Arye Leib Hurwitz along with his choral ensemble, enhancing the holiday spirit.
Many joined in the interactive communal Seder while others held their own individual sedarim at their tables in the multiple dining halls. The elegant main ballroom was filled with children saying the Mah Nishtanah and singing popular Pesach melodies led by the cantor and rabbis. In another private dining room several women enjoyed a unique Women of the Vaal Seder with internationally acclaimed speaker, Bronya Shaffer. The varied group found pleasure in making new acquaintances, and some beautiful connections were formed.
Lucy Wasserman, a guest from New York, related, “For the second Seder I was invited to an all women’s Seder, and I had never been to one before. I found it intriguing. You were able to discuss and enjoy the Seder in a way that you can’t always do in the company of men and children. I was able to participate in this Seder more than I would have in a regular Seder, which for me was extremely nice.”
Throughout the intermediate days of Chol Hamoed, guests enjoyed the many activities and programs that kept them busy, in addition to the hotel’s water sports, swimming, exercising, and just plain relaxing. There were daily organized excursions to the many nearby attractions such as the Pilansberg Safari, Rhino and Lion park, cultural villages, gold mines, water rafting, and other attractions. Each evening guests were entertained by world class performers.
The quality of the program was tops while the cost was kept relatively affordable for families to enjoy without breaking the bank. Guests came from across South Africa and around the world. There was also the option to come just for day trips and meals during Chol Hamoed.
While it is hard to think about next Pesach already, you can be sure that Chabad’s Pesach Retreat team is already planning. Knowing that the program will only continue to grow, their goal is to make every year progressively more impressive. And in the meantime, those who participated will undoubtedly keep up with the new friends they made while taking the learning and inspiration into the rest of their year. Additionally, they plan to enhance Jewish life in South Africa with more Shabbatons and Community Retreats affording more learning opportunities at this oasis.
“Thank you for a wonderful Pesach, your spirit and inspiration was felt in almost everything during Yom Tov,” the Morgenstern family remarked to the program hosts. “It was an amazing experience for our children. They were exposed to different cultures, new people and at the same time felt the sense of unity of Am Israel and how much Jews around the world have in common.”
More info at www.chabadsouthafrica.org/Pesach2016