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Vacationing as a Jew

June 28, 2018 | by David Kilimnick

Your goal is to get into your hotel room but the anti-Semites have decided to make hotel keys electronic.

Summer is here and just like our non Jewish neighbors, we too like to vacation. But unlike our non Jewish neighbors, at some point we will be stuck in a hotel or the wilderness on Shabbat, and we will be totally unprepared. How are you supposed to enjoy a beautiful Shabbat when the Four Seasons has no idea how to make a decent kishka?

How are you supposed to enjoy Shabbat when the Four Seasons has no idea how to make a decent kishka?

I don’t know if any of these fixes are acceptable according to Jewish law, but I’ve heard them from other Jews over the years so it’s only right to share.

Electronic Door

Your goal is to get into your hotel room. However, the anti-Semites have decided to make hotel keys electronic.

Your first fix is to tie a string to the door handle and run the string down and outside of the door. This way, you can pull the inside handle from the outside. This also has a side benefit of making your room much easier to be broken into. The burglars will thank you. It’s their day of rest too. Make sure you have tape, as the string is sure to fall or slip off the handle, which would be very disappointing for the burglar. You also want to watch out for cats that might be roaming around the hotel, who like to play with yarn.

Your second fix is the Do Not Disturb sign in your door, where the door lock latch bolt is now stopped by the sign that you stuck into the door. This was created by a Jew I know who was proficient at breaking into homes with credit cards. The Do Not Disturb sign is perfect for this as it is sends a strong message to the person breaking into your room, to keep it quiet whil in your room, especially if somebody is sleeping; manners come first. With the placement of the Do Not Disturb sign in the door itself, you want to watch out for room service, who can kill this rig by making your bed.

Building an Eruv

There was no room at the Four Seasons and you were not willing to downgrade to the Holiday Inn, so you are camping. Now you are in the wilderness and need to build an Eruv to create an enclosure for yourself with a string, so that you can carry, all because you are not willing to stay in a hotel that has a non-electronic front door option for Shabbat.

People use fishing line, not rope, as a fishing line does not sag as much and it’s harder to see. If people trip over your Eruv or choke themselves that’s OK because you’ve built it correctly.

Electric Door to Building

Entering a building with only electronic doors can be very hard and time consuming. What you want to do in this circumstance is wait right near the front door until somebody is entering the building for themselves and then walk in right when they do. You can try to avoid the awkwardness of this encounter by mimicking their exact walk, the same way Mr. Bean would do it. This will take the attention off of the fact that you are Jewish. It might also get you a reputation as a stalker in the area.

No Eruv Shabbat Key Belt

Best way to get in and out of your place with no Eruv is to use the Shabbat key belt. The idea of the Shabbat key belt is to make the key a usable part of your belt and to make sure the belt looks ugly. You do this by dressing in your finest Shabbat clothes, while fashioning a belt whose buckle is the key. Best way to do this is to take your regular leather belt and destroy it. You can also purchase the Shabbat belt on Amazon, which is basically a child safety strap with hooks on it. Ideally, it should look like a dog collar that got messed up. If you are stuck with no belt that you want to destroy and no child safety Shabbat accessories, you can take an undergarment elastic band and connect it around your waste with a key, and then hold up your pants with that. As long as you look extremely strange, you are fine.

Shabbat Table Cloth

Hotel towels. They are white and make for a comfortable tablecloth when you are coming out of the shower. The towel table cloth is also great for grape juice spills.

Grape Juice

You forgot wine and can’t make Kiddush the way you are supposed to. Don’t fear. Take raisins and let them sit in boiling water, you then squeeze out what you have in the raisin and voila. That’s it. Two hours later, you have grape juice. Start up a juice making factory in your hotel room and you too can make your beautiful vacation Shabbat compliant while making a few extra bucks on the side.

Havdalah Candles

For the Havdalah candle, it is best to have many wicks put together. For this reason, if you do not have a Havdalah candle, you want to take two candles and hold them together so that you can burn yourself by having the wax drip on your fingers. If you do not have that, I have seen people take two matches from the hotel matchbox and bring them together. As long as there’s danger of first degree burns you are doing Havdalah right.

Pack Everything You Need & Food Fix It

That is the only way to ensure you will have a decent Shabbat on the road. Pack the Havdalah candles, spices, rope, tape, fishing wire, child safety belts, and all of the kosher salami that can fit into your baggage.

Packing is the first and most important level of this fix. So, don’t pack anything other than the kosher food and Shabbat necessities. Every town sells socks. All countries have clothes. Don’t pack those. Not everybody sells decent chulent. Pack that.

You don’t want to have to run into town on vacation trying to find fish tackle to ensure that skin is pierced when one trips over your Eruv Booby Trap.

Number one fix Jewish kosher traveler: just go to New York City for vacation.

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