Although Jamaica has a deep Jewish history and is a prime location for family-friendly vacations, there has never been an organized Passover program for Jewish tourists on the island.
That will change this spring when a new partnership with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), the Chabad of Jamaica and Royal Passover brings the first-ever strictly kosher Jamaica Passover program to the five-star Melia Braco Village in Montego Bay.
“Jamaica has long been an ideal destination for Jewish families looking for both a tropical island getaway and a healthy dose of Jewish heritage,” said Donovan White, Jamaica’s new director of tourism, in a written release, “and the Jamaican Passover program is a great addition to the ‘Jewish Jamaica’ experience.”
Seeing untapped potential for Jewish tourism in Jamaica, Tzvi Berg, a veteran of the Passover program industry and the director of Royal Passover, is working to make Montego Bay the next big destination for Passover programming, as well as Jewish weddings and Bar Mitzvahs.
“Jamaica is well known for her extraordinary natural beauty and world-renowned culture, but many do not know about her Jewish history and the many Jewish historical sites that dot the island,” said Berg. “These include several preserved Jewish cemeteries, the final resting places of some of the Jewish pirates of the Caribbean, and the 100-year-old Shaare Shalom Synagogue, one of four remaining sand floor synagogues in the world.”
While Jewish travelers to Jamaica have long struggled with finding kosher food on the island, the Royal Passover program and the Chabad of Jamaica will make such concerns a thing of the past.
Under the strict supervision of Rabbi Yaakov Raskin, co-director of Chabad of Jamaica, the program will highlight delicious kosher cuisine prepared by a team of top Israeli chefs.
In addition to steel drums, reggae music, and beachside barbecues, Royal Passover hopes to inspire its guests with a private Jewish music festival featuring such entertainment as Avraham Fried, Cantor Yaakov Motzen, Nissim Black, Tal Vaknin and Yoni Z. The Jamaica Passover program will also include lectures and Torah classes.