The ads for the trips to Israel, the cruises (glatt kosher, daf yomi, all included) etc. for midwinter vacation are old hat. What caught my eye this year was the ad for an African safari. I think it was for something like 10 days in the bush where you can see the jungle and animals, and I apologize for not recalling if a daf yomi rebbe would be travelling along with this one as well.
We hear so much about the financial crisis currently affecting families, institutions, and schools, but if I didn't know better I would be asking, "What financial crisis?" With so many ads in "heimishe" publications for vacations that can easily set a budget back by a few thousand or tens of thousands of dollars, one is forced to either assume that a lot of kosher tour companies are going to go under soon or that hundreds of frum families have a these extra thousands of disposable income to toss away. The news I heard after Sukkos about hotels being packed pointed to the latter rather than the former.
Do people who work hard and reap the financial rewards of their efforts deserve a nice vacation? Absolutely. But I can't help but ask myself why some many institutions are toppling today when communally we have (or seem to have) so much more wealth and success than any prior generation? Undoubtedly the answer to that question is complex and multi-faceted and cannot be answered in a short post, but it's a question that begs asking on the commual level.