Why Jewish Tourists Love Hawaii

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I spotted a financial bonanza for hometown Honolulu during my
first visit to Miami, Florida in the early 1960s: Acres of bodies
sprawled in the sun on beaches and outside of hotels, the aroma of
suntan oil rising from them.*

My Jewish boss and most of our clients returned with a winter tan identifying them as more financially successful than the pale-faced hoi polloi being slammed by winter.


Tan was thought to be sexy as well as prestigious. Ads in subway
cars read “QT tans like magic in 3 to 5 hours with or without
sun.” (It gave me an orange-tinge.)

Back at Waikiki there’s never a discouraging word and the skies
are not cloudy all day. Miami and the Eastern Shore are flat,
literally and figuratively, compared to multi-faceted Hawaii.

Then it happened so quickly: Huge, fast airplanes disgorged
tourists, travel costs dropped, it was convenient to fly from the
East Coast. The Hawaiian Islands metamorphosed into a mass-market
tourism-based economy.

There’s a faithful niche within that market with more “Aloha” for
Hawaii than we might realize. I started thinking this after
saying “Happy Hanukkah” to the cheerful family at the next table.

It was Friday evening at Kincaid’s Fish, Chop, and Steak House in
the Waikiki. The TGIF, “Thank God Its Friday” crowd worshipped at
the bar. I’d made reservations for a quick gimlet and broiled ahi
before heading for the University of Hawaii for Bamboo Ridge’s
party, celebrating author Michelle Cruz Skinner, a born-and-raised

At a long table next to us 20 exuberant ladies enjoyed their
Christmas Party. Two tables in front of us sat a Jewish family
who blessed and shared wine. It was the day before Hanukkah; I
said “Happy Holiday” when leaving they smiled back.

That simple exchange gave me the idea to write this message:

“Hawaii is an outstanding welcoming place and Aloha is the formula
for a rewarding vacation. This perspective gives Jewish families
more reason than ever to visit us. Tell the orthodox, for whom
life is a little more demanding, there is