While locations such as the Fontainebleau Resort and Spa have been excellent, the food fantastic and the programming stimulating and exciting, they are not the main reason people have been returning to Lasko’s programs for 25 years. The main reason is the hosts: Sam and Arlene Lasko.
What is the magnetic magic of the Lasko family that draws people back each year?
It’s a real and unique love for and connection with their guests. When one goes to a Lasko family event, they become part of the family and they are treated as such. It’s not just an event, but a family gathering.
This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Lasko family programs. Launched in 1968, the Lasko family has produced programs for Passover and many other holidays at top resorts worldwide such as The Fontainebleau Resort and Spa and The Rye Town Hilton along with cruises to the most sought after locations world-wide.
Speaking to Sam Lasko, who has a Ph-d in Jewish Education and is a board member of the Weinbaum Yeshiva High School in Boca Raton, is like speaking to an encyclopedia of Jewish knowledge. Sam recalls all his thousands of guests, remembers minute details about them and their families and has a personal relationship with all. Arlene Lasko is intensely involved in the everyday activities of each program, the meals, the day camps and the evening activities.
One of the most beautiful aspects of Sam and Arlene’s lives is their passionate dedication to the Jewish Community. The Lasko family holds a long-standing unshakable belief that those who are fortunate and able to afford to be part of their programs must be reminded that they have an obligation to those who are less fortunate. Every day in Synagogue and at many meals, presentations are made by various charities requesting help. Tens of thousands of dollars are raised by various charities such as—“Kids of Courage”, giving extremely ill children a chance to have some fun and enjoy some adventure in their lives, “Sharsheret”, helping women and families facing Breast Cancer, and “Yachad”, a program for children with learning disabilities fostering inclusion, self-confidence and social skills.
Asking Sam and Arlene about the most memorable event in their long history serving the Jewish community produces the following story about a family from the greater Boston area, who year after year were regular attendees. Arlene explains: “We watched the family grow from 12 to over 40 and we shared their simchas of children growing up, getting married and having children of their own. One year however, just a few weeks before Passover, there was a call letting us know they would not be able to make their annual trip. The eldest, the patriarch, was extremely ill.”
Sam said to them: “You must come and we’ll do everything in our power to help make this happen.” Over the next couple of weeks unbelievable last minute arrangements were made. The parents were upgraded to a suite which the Lasko’s transformed into a mini hospital room, from the hospital bed to the monitors and everything in-between. Every family member came and held their Seders in the parent’s suite. Although barely able to speak, the father sat in a hospital chair weak and frail, but he was surrounded by his entire family.
Arlene continues, “The amount of happiness, joy and peace that filled the room was unspoken and immeasurable and it brings tears to my eyes even now.” After the first days of Passover the patriarch had to return to the hospital where he sadly declined very rapidly and within a day or two passed away. “As truly sad as it was the time was also most beautiful, as this entire family could all be together for their last Seder with their father and grandfather.”
The words of the Lasko family, explaining their goals at this year’s Passover experience, at the multi billion dollar super posh luxury Fontainebleau Resort and Spa, sums up the essence of their 25 years in business: to assure that each and every guest is provided with the very best Passover experience, at the finest resort with the highest quality service and staff. Moreover, to provide exceptional gourmet Glatt Kosher for Passover cuisine with the variety and selection to satisfy all tastes and special needs; to offer meaningful and inspiring synagogue services, as well as stimulating, thought provoking shiurim and lectures by renowned scholars; to provide exciting Chol Hamoed entertainment and programming for our guests; to insure the Lasko unique personal attention, warmth, caring and concern impacts each and every guest in a most positive experience.
Sam and Arlene Lasko and family as well as Hersh Taubenfeld and family will personally oversee the Fontainebleau Passover program this year. Sam and Arlene will be joined by their children and grandchildren who have “grown-up” as Pesach hosts. Jon and Ellen Lasko (Jordana, Ethan and Brendan), who have been hosting this program for many years are joined by Dr. David and Amy Lasko and their four children, Noah, Daniel, Jonah and Lielle, Dr. Daniel and Lisi (Lasko) Wolfson with Ariella, Kayla, Yakira and Eliana and Avi , Orah and baby Sophia.