Daily Archives: April 4, 2015

Too late for this year, but kids, here’s a neat trick to amaze your friends and alarm your parents next winter

Swedish chainsaw skating


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Religion and money; sometimes, a bit incongruous

$11,000 per-head Passover celebration, and that’s the minimum.

Esther Lerer has a lot to do this week. She’s planning to test out a flight simulator that mimics combat air travel, propel herself on a jet pack and even visit a trampoline park.

It’s a full itinerary for the 56-year-old philanthropist from Englewood, NJ, who’s also hoping to squeeze in a Seder. After all, it is Passover.

Starting Friday, Lerer, who’s an Orthodox Jew, will join 1,000 other movers and shakers at the St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point, Calif. — situated on 172 acres, with a private beach, luxury spa and championship golf course — for the weeklong holiday celebrating the Israelites’ emancipation from slavery.

“There’s so much to do,” says Lerer. “The word ‘no’ doesn’t exist!”

While it’s something of a tradition for New Yorkers to decamp for sunnier climes during Passover, no event is quite as extravagant as this one.

Or as expensive — prices start at $11,000 per person for an ocean-view room with butler service for the eight-day festival. That doesn’t include starry add-on amenities such as a recording session with Ariana Grande ($3,800 per person) and a meet-and-greet with Kylie and Kendall Jenner ($2,200) — both available last year.

“This is the who’s who of the world — the world’s richest, most prestigious people — people who meet the president and the pope,” says Jonathan Arbisfeld, head of sales for The Prime Experience, which organizes the event, now in its second year. (The company is an offshoot of the Prime Hospitality Group, which boasts several successful upscale kosher restaurants in NYC.)

I’m not singling out wealthy Jews, for heaven’s sake: we have a church here in Greenwich where the pastor wears a diamond ring as large as a robin’s egg and pashmina vestments while preaching of Christians’ duty to the poor. And just to be even-handed, here’s another religion heard from:

A Leonardo villa: hey, it's got solar panels and a grass roof, so God's on our side

A Leonardo villa: hey, it’s got solar panels and a grass roof, so God’s on our side

Leonardo Dicaprio is building an “eco-resort ” in Belize, with $15 million villas 

I’m an absolute believer in the right of people to spend their money as they wish, but I suppose I’m still enough of a Calvinist to shudder when they do so in the name of religion.

UPDATE: Looking at the picture of the proposed villa, it strikes me as awfully low to the water. Aren’t the adherents of the Holy Church of Gaia supposed to believe in the imminent flooding of the earth? $15 million for a doomed mansion on a doomed barrier island seems a little incautious, no?


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