It might have made for great copy, but don’t believe everything you read.
An article that ran in the New York Post on Erev Pesach described “the poshest
Passover in the world,” detailing a 2015 Pesach program at the St. Regis Monarch
Beach in Laguna Beach, California. Written by Doree Lewak, the Post article lists
prices starting at $11,000 per person and costly add-ons that were available to guests
last year through the program including $3,800 per person recording sessions with
singer/actress Ariana Grande, a $2,200 meet and greet with socialites Kylie and Kendall
Jenner and a kosher lunch with the Kardashians. The only problem? According to Joey
Allaham, owner of the Prime Experience which operates the program, the article was
filled with inaccuracies and virtually ignored the more important spiritual component of
“Our main focus is providing our guests with the most amazing foods and an incredible
lineup of scholars,” Allaham, owner of the Prime restaurant group in New York told the
Five Towns Jewish Times. “That is our highest priority.”
While guests might have chosen to spend their Chol Hamoed last year recording music
with Grande, meeting with the Jenners or having lunch with the Kardashians, none of
these activities were part of the Prime Experience program said Allaham.
“Implications by the Post that prices start at $11,000 are incredibly misleading,” noted
Allaham. “That price is for a few exclusive oceanfront rooms, with other
accommodations at the St. Regis, a five star hotel, starting at $5,600, just under half
The option to create a customized “Amazing Race” at $3,500 per person that The Post
says is offered as part of Prime’s 2015 program is another fabrication according to
Allaham, who makes no apologies for his five-star program, one of three that he is
running this year.
“We go out of our way to make sure we provide our guests with the best of everything
which includes the best possible Passover spirit,” said Allaham. “Our location was
specifically chosen because of its wonderful climate, making it conducive to dressing
formally for dinner, in honor of the chag. Nothing is more important to us than
celebrating the holiday in a manner that is dignified and spiritual.”
While the program’s day camp does include appearances by football personalities Odell
Beckham and Mark Sanchez, the schedule includes daily daf yomi and divrei Torah
from noted rabbonim including Rabbi Daniel Mechanic, Rabbi Eli Mansour, Rabbi Lord
Jonathan Sacks, Rabbi Marvin Hier, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Rabbi Natan Slifkin and
Rabbi Abraham Cooper. Scheduled speakers run the gamut, including Malcolm
Hoenlein, presidential candidate Ted Cruz and shadchan Altchie Pelcovitz, discussing
a wide range of topics including kiruv, Israel, ISIS, effective parenting, Catholic-Jewish
relations, and the 2016 presidential race. Entertainment includes a concert by Israeli
singing sensation Ohad Moskowitz and an oneg and tish with Chazan Yanky Lemmer.
An estimated 125,000 Jews elect to take advantage of Pesach as the perfect vacation
opportunity each year.
“Anyone knows Passover cleaning and Seder preparation are a handful,” said
entrepreneur Ronn Torossian. “So, too is entertaining kids while off from school for ten
days, so it was an easy decision this year to come on a trip like the one I am now on in
“For many observant Jews, the attraction of leaving home is two-fold: getting away from
the drudgery of Pesach cleaning, as well as traveling to a fun, friendly place where food,
intellectual stimulation and even physical activity are plentiful and appealing,” added
Raphi Bloom, founder and CEO of totallyjewishtravel.com. “The week of Passover is
the now the busiest time of year for Jews to emulate our ancestors and pack up for a
Torossian is currently spending his Pesach at the Presidential Passover program at
Turnberry Isle Miami, another high end Pesach vacation at a highly rated property.
“Nothing says freedom like sitting in the sun at a luxury resort, surrounded by family and
great food and fun things to do on Passover,” said Torossian.