The Pesach Program That Wasn’t

By Giti Tenenbaum

We all know the stories from the early 1900s, when people lost their jobs week after week because they refused to desecrate Shabbos. One might imagine that this is no longer an issue in 2017, but as we have since learned, the obstacles are still out there. All that has changed is the form. What follows is a new twist on an old challenge, a behind-the-scenes look at a contemporary sacrifice to avoid chillul Shabbos.

Our family runs a Pesach program. This involves renting a hotel and hosting around 400 guests for Pesach. It’s a fun, fast-paced seasonal business, and like any other seasonal business, it’s do or die. Will we make it or break it? We never know until Yom Tov is over. On more than one occasion we’ve watched our profits disappear when unexpected situations arose out of left field. It’s the kind of business that lends new meaning to the adage “Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.” In other words, once you dive in, you hold your breath until after Havdalah on Acharon shel Pesach.

We start before Chanukah, but the real crunch time doesn’t begin until Purim. Over the years we’ve had to be pretty creative in coming up with solutions to some of the obstacles we’ve encountered. We can’t prepare in advance since we never know what the issues are until they’re upon us. In this business, we don’t have the luxury of 20/20 hindsight. Still, it’s all part of the game, and we try to roll with the punches. Making emergency adjustments is our specialty. When Yom Tov ends, we resume breathing and review the event in slow motion.


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