Joined In Sep 2019
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One of the premier Passover programs anywhere is Upscale Getaway’s Passover program at the White Oak Hotel & Spa, at Niagara on the Lake, Ontario. The property is an outstanding gem and the Yom Tov Ruach is palpable from the moment of arrival. All of the hotel rooms are reserved for guests of the Pesach program and all rooms are spacious and comfortable. Niagara on the Lake is a beautiful community close to Niagara Falls, ON. It’s a convenient drive from nearby Toronto, CA, Western NY and communities in the Midwest like Detroit, MI. This program not only attracts those in nearby communities but family, friends and extended family come from all over Canada, the U.S. Israel and even Europe. Davening during the entire period of Yom Tov is held in a dedicated facility in the hotel near the dining area. Preceding davening Rabbi Selliven, who coordinates religious services, delivers a dvar Torah which is informative and sets the mood as Yom Tov is about to begin. In the many years we have attended this program I have always looked forward to Rabbi Selliven’s insights. Sedorim are arranged to accommodate private groups of friends and families or for those who wish to join a larger communal seder. Programming through the entire week include shiurim by guest rabbis and scholars and presentations on contemporary issues confronting Jews in North America, Israel and other parts of the world. Guests present issues on various aspects of life from science to entertainment. Presenters have been distinguished guest rabbis, a columnist from the Wall Street Journal, a couple who produce entertainment films shown on Net Flix and a former executive secretary from a Major Canadian Jewish Organization. These presenters have one thing in common. They work in the mainstream of the working world and are committed to personal Jewish values. The operators of this Passover Get-a-way have many years of experience. This is obvious once guests find the food is both delicious and abundant. And the tea room is open for snacks and soft drinks before the dining rooms have opened or after they are closed. During the first and last days of Yom Tov and on Shabbat, Kiddush is served on a grand scale. Wines, and kosher lePesach hard drinks are available for all of the appropriate age. Breakfast is a major buffet undertaking. During chol hamoed custom omelets are crafted and a variety of fish, veggies, yogurts and cheeses are available. And during chol hamoed containers are available for those who wish to prepare their own box lunches from the breakfast assortment. They can plan a day trip/excursion to the many attractions nearby without worrying about how to secure Pesach food. Of course the major attraction in the area is Niagara Falls. A tour on the Maid of the Mist or a trip behind the Falls is a must. But don’t forget the arboretum which is an outstanding display of indoor horticulture. Each year the program offers a day trip to the theater at the Shaw Festival in Niagara on the Lake. There are several theaters in the area. We have gone to the main theater arranged by the program for the group and we have gone independently to another theater at Niagara on the Lake. All are produced and acted by first rate professionals. The program also offers a day trip during chol hamoed to the Diamond Wineries which is home to a Kosher winery. This area is one of only two places in the world that produces ice wine and the Kosher winery offers both a guided tour of the facility and tasting of their Kosher ice wine, which is also available for purchase. Other areas to explore in addition to the Falls area are Toronto, Hamilton Ontario as well as Buffalo, NY. Our grandchildren were thrilled to visit Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and we were surprised by the outstanding display of 50 pieces of outdoor art painted on the exterior of downtown and industrial buildings in the port city of Hamilton. We look forward on our next trip to visiting the WWII airplane museum in Hamilton. In Buffalo we visited Martin House, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous architectural projects. It is now owned by the nearby University of Buffalo. As a pharmacy alumnus of UB I was invited to a private tour of their recently built pharmacy building. The campus is amazing. Two things that make the experience at this program even more wonderful than what I described are the service of the personnel at the hotel and the nature of the guests who attend the program. All the hotel personnel from the chamber maid to the desk clerks are anxious to please. Because this is a resort hotel they are used to having children around the facilities for long periods of time. The staff is constantly on guard to clean up spills and to maintain freshness at the hotel. Not only does the staff do their jobs they do it cheerfully. As you know, attitude goes a long way towards making you feel welcome. Through the years we have come to the Upscale Passover program at White Oaks at Niagara on the Lake we have found that the guests who attend are friendly and inclusive. The warmth that guests of this program extend to each other, regardless of their background, is wonderful. We look back fondly at our experiences at Niagara on the Lake and look forward to many more in the future.