Ten Commandments for Yeshiva Week in Florida

by Boca Raton Jewish News | Jan 16, 2023 | Featured Stories | 0 comments

It happens every January.  Yeshivas go on vacation and many families head to Florida for some fun and sun.  Many come to see and stay with relatives.  As an escape from the Northern winters, Florida’s sun and fun beckons.

A long time ago, Yeshiva week was just one week in Florida.  Now, the modern orthodox schools take off the third week of Florida and the “more yeshivish” schools take off the last week of January.

It’s been estimated that as many as 50,000 people come to Florida for Yeshiva week.

The places that are the hardest hit are the kosher grocery stores and restaurants.  Often long lines form and tempers are short.

The behavior of out-of-towners sometimes shocks the year round residents.  This caused Rabbi Efrem Goldberg whose shul fills to capacity during this time to call for civility:

Rabbi Efrem Goldberg, the senior rabbi of the Boca Raton Synagogue (BRS), in a recent article, pleaded with the throngs of vacationers who are expected in his community and in South Florida in general to display patience and good behavior in what has become known as “Yeshiva Week.” Although it extends into early February, Yeshiva Week puts enormous pressure on kosher restaurants and other kosher establishments in South Florida. Wrote Rabbi Goldberg: “For some visitors and local residents, yeshiva week can be challenging and frustrating when waiting on lines, looking for parking or struggling to get a table.” Rabbi Goldberg continued: “We are grateful you have chosen to visit our community and to support our local restaurants. Our restaurants don’t expand based on the pilgrimage of Jews. Our proprietors and their staffs are doing the best they can. Please be patient, understanding and courteous, and please be generous with your tips, since the waiters are doing the best they can during an overwhelming time. Please note and be sensitive to the fact that while you enjoy our many kosher dining options and kosher supermarkets, it is the local residents who support them all year long and enable them to be available to you when you visit.”

Here are our Ten Commandments for Visitors During Yeshiva Week

  1. No one likes waiting on lines.  Floridians patiently wait their turn in line. Please do not cut in front of people waiting in line.
  2. Please expect restaurants are going to be crowded. You absolutely must have a reservation before heading over or be prepared to wait.
  3. Do not make a reservation at multiple restaurants and then “forget” to cancel. This costs the restaurants money and inconveniences everyone.  Some restaurants have been burned so many times they now required a credit card to reserve a place.  And if you do not cancel or show up you maybe charged.
  4. Restaurant staff and servers are working their best to get you your food. Staff is in short supply. Please be patient.  And remember, they work for tips. 18% is the MINIMUM you should tip. Many South Florida restaurants – kosher and non kosher alike – add the tip to your check. All Miami restaurants add the tip automatically. There are legal reasons for their doing so because of non-tippers. Just go with the flow and be kind.
  5. Yes, there are shortages in Kosher food supplies.  If your favorite Dino Rib or Steak is not available, there’s no need to make a scene. Just choose something else.
  6. Restaurants will bend over backwards to help you if there is a problem.  Let them know up front if you have a special request.
  7. Many restaurants turn off Uber Eats during Yeshiva week because Uber Eats takes such a high percent of the bill.  The restaurants will be delighted to prepare a take out order.  It’s advisable to check every item in your order before leaving the restaurants to avoid problems.
  8. If a mistake is made, please do not raise your voice or insult the staff. You may be creating a “Chilul Hashem.”  Act as if it’s YESHIVA week not HEFKER (anything goes) week.
  9. If you are in grocery stores please do not call out any of the following:
    1. Wow this is so much more expensive here than NY.  (There are shipping charges)
    2. We have a bigger selection in NY. (Not all items are available to stores down here)
  10. Enjoy yourselves.  There are so many attractions and things to enjoy down here. Focus on the positive not the negative.

The Eleventh Commandment for Parents of Teenages During Yeshiva Week

Do not leave your teens unsupervised. As a former Principal and a Florida resident for more than 20 years, there have been many tragedies during Yeshiva week. Do not assume your teens are immune.


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