June 30, 2020

Second Wave in Israel Puts Lucrative Sukkoth Holiday in Doubt

New York…The Cohens have already given a deposit for a 5-bedroom apartment in Jerusalem’s Rechavia neighborhood for the Sukkot holiday (eve of October 3rd – through October 13th). This was to be Joey’s Bar Mitzvah celebration, a dream that was beginning to elude the family with the recent uptick in Covid-19 cases in Israel and yet restricted international travel. Their airline reservations with El Al literally seemed to be up in the air as the airline was still not flying. What has emerged as Israel’s most lucrative tourist season for Jews celebrating the holiday is unravelling as hotel managers and tour operators are no longer certain that Israel will be open for business come the High Holy Days.

Jack, the father, was thinking that Florida was an option, but the State is in the midst of a dramatic upsurge in Covid cases. For many the traditional summer vacations are being spent close to home and for large numbers in the Catskill Mountains as sleepaway camps are for the moment anything but sleepaway. Israeli hotel operators are scurrying about, hoping for a miracle. Their meetings with Health Department officials have gone nowhere as newly sworn in Health Minister Yuli Edelstein seems even more rigid than his predecessor Yaakov Litzman. He is threatening to restore many of the limitations that were in effect during the height of the pandemic. One tour operator told Kosher Today: “This will be a nail-biter with last minute decisions already spelling a much smaller tourist season and that is without government-imposed quarantines.”