skiing 88 298.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
When I made the long trip from Jerusalem to Colorado, crossing oceans, frozen plains and some 14,000 kilometers, the last thing I expected to find on my vacation was yeshiva boys.
But when I got to the Rockies, I found that Colorado's fantastic skiing attracts more than a few members of the tribe. I shouldn't have been surprised: After all, ski lovers all pray to the same god of snow.
There's good reason for Jewish life in these mountains.
Nearby Denver has a sizable Jewish community, and more than a few of its members weekend in the mountains. Mezuzot mark condo door frames at Keystone ski resort, Beaver Creek has occasional Shabbat minyanim and Vail has its own Chabad center.
Chabad Rabbi Dovid Mintz prepares kosher food for delivery orders ($25 for a rotisserie chicken with rice), maintains an on-line sign-up list for daily minyans at www.jewishvail.com and hosts holiday and Shabbat events. He was kind enough to drop off an unsolicited halla and kosher grape juice when I arrived at my hotel late on Friday afternoon.
Unlike in Europe, where Jews interested in religious services must cluster together in subpar kosher hotels dominated by Israeli haredim - ghettos of a sort - Colorado offers Jewish services American style: on demand and any way you want it.
The preponderance of religious Jews in Colorado also meant that I didn't have to explain myself too much. When I told a waiter to hold the meat and scallops from my grilled romaine salad, he immediately figured me out and eagerly recounted his experience participating in the Maccabiah. Even my Korean-American ski instructor, Beaver Creek's Tim Han, hailed from a Jewish neighborhood on Long Island and needed no explanation of my kosher restrictions.