A hotel’s refusal to properly disable its motion sensors has forced a popular Pesach program to cancel its plans due to halachic concerns.
The cancellation was first brought to Matzav.com’s attention yesterday by the organizers of the program, who informed their customers that they no longer had a Pesach program to go to.
The “Pesach for Less 2017” program was to be presented by Shmully and Giti Tenenbaum at the Dolce Hotel and Conference Center in Basking Ridge, NJ, which recently installed motion and RF sensors in all their sleeping rooms.
“After consulting with poskim, we were advised that this would be a clear violation of Shabbos and Yom Tov,” the Tenenbaums, who are residents of Lakewood, NJ, told Matzav.com.
The Dolce refused to accommodate requests by the Tennenbaums to disengage the system, claiming that none of their other kosher groups were bothered by it.
“Therefore, we felt that it is our responsibility not to move forward any longer this year, and to avoid a last minute cancellation in the event that we are unsuccessful in persuading the Dolce to disengage the system,” the Tenenbaums told Matzav.com.
All deposits will be returned in full, the Tenenbaums said.
Matzav.com spoke to an electrician familiar with these systems. He explained that these sensors control all amenities in a hotel room, such as lights and heat. When the door closes and no motion is detected, these amenities are shut in order to save money. As soon as the door is opened, before the door is even fully extended, all amenities return to the state in which they were left. Most systems have a VIP override for individual rooms and a full override for the entire hotel that disables the system.
Matzav.com learned that the Dolce Hotel actually threatened to fine the Tenenbaums $1,000 per room that used the VIP override and refused to disable it at the hotel level.
A major frum caterer who spoke to Matzav.com was very disturbed by this development.
“If people know about this and the hotels see that they are losing kosher business, perhaps they will change their attitude and be more accommodating to the frum community,” the caterer said. “This problem exists in many hotels.”