Chabad gears up for biggest ever Mexican-style der
Twelve members of Chabad staff have flown in to Mexico to help out with Passover preparations for Cozumel's Jewish community, guests and travelers.
The biggest of the events is for some 350 travelers visiting the Caribbean island, the second is for the island's 90-person strong Jewish community and their guests, and the third is for English-speaking visitors to the island. Twelve members of Chabad staff have traveled to the scuba-diving tourist magnet to help with this Passover operation, bringing with food necessary for the Seder that cannot be found in Cozumel.
"First we help people on the materialistic level, then on the spiritual level," Rabbi Caplin told The Jerusalem Post. "This is the only place in the world where all restaurants are considered kosher," he says, explaining that there is a kosher beach-side restaurant from which all hotel guests can order hot meals. There is also a kosher grocery store and gender-separated luxury mikveh for both men and women, as well as a small Jewish school for the 30 Jewish children living on the island. "Even if it was just one kid we would open a school," Caplin said.
The small Jewish Cozumel community is made up of retired Americans, some Turks and a few Mexicans. According to Caplin, many Israelis "rediscover Judaism" in Cozumel, far away from the religious-secular tensions that exist in Israel. "Here they see Judaism without politics. Many Israelis have no clue about the basic stuff … they come here and it's an open-minded atmosphere and we have good vibes, we have fun," he said. "People like it and start to ask questions." He adds that many travelers end up staying longer than planned and described their experience at the island as a "big intersection" for them.