Never mind the popular belief: Elopements are almost always carefully thought out. The only people who deny this simple fact are those who were vexed about not having been consulted, or those who were left behind.
This summer has been particularly stressful, working like crazy to meet some deadlines, and it seemed the season passed us by before my husband and I got a chance to go anywhere past Central Park (OK, Nyack: big deal!). This past August my daughter Bella was spending a week in Cape Cod with her husband and daughter, and when she commented on how beautiful it was I said to her “If you are not too far from the Chabad Cape Cod, please drive over and scout the land for me”. She gave it a glowing review, and pretty soon I found myself planning our first days of Sukkos in Hyannis, where Chabad Cape Cod is located. I needed to plan carefully, since Yom Tov was immediately followed by Shabbos. I went to their website and found not only a list of hotels reasonably close to a Chabad House (we settled on one that was practically across the street from the Shul) but an extensive take out menu, prepared by the rebetzin herself. The Rabbi and I exchanged emails, and something in the electronic body language told me to ignore the listed menu and let his wife just do her magic: Boy was I glad I did: It started when I met her and thought to myself “Gam Offa ve Gam Yaffa” (affectionate Hebrew for “all this and brains too” KAO), I liked her even more when she told one of her congregants she simply couldn’t live without her food processor (Ditto: a soul sister!), but after we enjoyed her delicious meals, we just knew we had to do it again: visit Cape Cod, during the summer season, order our meals from Chabad and travel in style. Remember: The rebetzin will plan your meals even better than you will! And the price is right too!
The dinners we ordered were not the only wonderful thing we found in Cape Cod: The davening services were delightful and fun, with one of the Rabbi’s lovely children singing along at the top of his lungs, and morning services were always followed by an incredible kiddush-lunch spread (this is where I tasted Cold Potato Kugel for the first time), with all guests invited.
From seeing “The Gods Must Be Crazy” (where the character is bewildered to find a bottle of Coke in the middle of the wilderness: Just like Chabad, I thought! Bless their hearts) to seeing “The March of The Penguins” (where their legendary Mesiras Nefesh reminded me again forcefully of Chabad, even more than the unbroken black-and-white look Chabad get their nickname from: Go ahead, call us Penguins: We are flattered!) and everything in between (this includes my favorite Chabad House of all, ran by my son Yakov and his wife Elisheva, Chabad Washington Heights), all I can say is: You go Chabad!
PS: I hope you make the Rebetzin’s delicious Cold Potato Kugel recipe! You will love it!