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Vacationing as a Jew can be hard. At some point all good Jews will be stuck in a hotel or the wilderness on Shabbat, and nobody is ever fully prepared. Asides from finding kosher food, the greatest concern is how to make for your beautiful Shabbat when the Four Seasons has no idea how to make a decent kishka.
I don’t know if all of these are acceptable fix its according to Jewish law. Even so, these are all fix its that I've heard or learned from other Jews over the years.
Electronic Door Fix It
Your goal is to get into your hotel room. However, the anti-Semites have decided to make hotel keys electronic. They couldn't keep us out of the country clubs that banned us. They're not going to keep us out of hotels with non-kosher food.
Your first fix it is to tie a string to the door handle and to run the string down and outside of the door. This way, you can pull the inside handle from the outside and anybody who looks down can break in easier. Make sure you have tape, as the string is sure to fall or slip off the handle, which is very disappointing to the passerby who can’t take your stuff now. You'll want to watch out for cats that might be roaming around the hotel, who like to play with yarn. You can do this or leave the door open. Either way, you want to make it easy for people to access your stuff.
Your second fix it 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 when in your room, especially if somebody is sleeping; manners come first.
The worst is when room service messes up your fix it. With the placement of the 'Do Not Disturb' sign in the door itself, and not on the handle, you want to watch out for room service. They'll kill this rig, coming in and making your bed.
Third fix it. Leave door unlocked and place the 'Do Not Disturb' sign on the outer handle. I
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. As a religious Jew, non-electronic doors are beneath you.
People use fishing lines, and 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, you’ve built it correctly.
Electric Door To Building Fix It
As if hotels haven't done enough with the electronic keys, they've spread their anti-Semitism to the whole real estate market. Most of the staff at these hotels are trying to figure out why the Jews are so quiet on Friday nights. It's because most of them have no idea how to get in. Why they pay for hotels over Shabbat still baffles me.
Entering a building with electronic doors can be very hard and time consuming. What you want to do in this circumstance is wait right by the front door till somebody is entering the building for themselves, and then walk in right when they do. Right after them. You can try to avoid the awkwardness of this encounter by mimicking their exact walk, as Mr. Bean would. Remember to mock them. This will take the attention off of the fact that you are Jewish and creepy. It might get you a reputation as a stalker in the area. Nonetheless, if you are not attacked by the person you are following, you are OK and you can enjoy the rest of your Shabbat. If you are attacked, it should be an atonement for staying at the hotel that does not have regular doors.
The following people on Shabbat method works best if you study the other people's daily patterns.
No Eruv Shabbat Key Belt Fix It
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 the belt and to make sure the belt looks off. You do this by dressing in your finest Shabbat clothes, while fashioning a belt whose buckle is the key. Best way to do it 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. 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 waist with a key, and then hold up your pants with that. As long as you look like a fool, you are fine. The main idea is to have people wondering why you went to such lengths to not have to carry a key chain.
You can also use a bag shoulder strap. Some of the canvas bags have extremely durable shoulder straps. If you're lucky, and not too heavy, somebody may carry you through the front door of the hotel.
Praying with A Community Fix It
Go to shul. This is how you fix that.
Shabbat Tablecloth Fix It
Hotel towels. They are white and make for a comfortable tablecloth when you are coming out of the shower. The towel tablecloth is also great for spills.
If you don’t have a tallit, you can also double a towel as a tallit, if you are willing to destroy and keep hotel property. Once you've already added the tassels, they will have no argument when you take this towel out of the hotel.
Grape Juice Fix It
You forgot wine and can’t make the Kiddush blessing the way you like to. Don’t fear. Take raisins and let them sit in boiling water. 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.
If starting a factory is too much for you, you can go to the supermarket.
Havdalah Candles Fix It
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 wax can 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. Lighting fires is not allowed in hotels; however, matchboxes make for great advertisement, so they are there.
Tiki candles can also be used for Havdalah, lighting on Friday night, luaus, and burning holes in anything you put them on that is not glass.
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, Mana Chamas, all of Meal Mart and salami.
Packing is the first and most important step of the Jewish travel fix it. 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 choolant. 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.
The number one fix it for the Jewish kosher traveler is to go to New York City for your vacation.
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I was going to do Kaparos before Yom Kippur, but I chickened out.
You get it? Kaparos is the tradition of placing your sins on something else, the day before Yom Kippur, traditionally a chicken, and waiving it. He chickened out of the chicken. He might've done it with money in the end. But that would still be without a chicken.
Designated stroller parking area. Something every shul needs, so I can get through the entrance on Yom Kippur... Truth is they should have stroller parking all the time. The entrance is always blocked.
Problem: Merv and Bernie will end up parking there. They already take the disabled parking spots and walk just fine. When it comes to parking, every member of our congregation is disabled.
Side Note: Figured out why so many kids come to shul on Yom Kippur. Because they get to eat in shul on Yom Kippur.