Shortly after we arrived from Israel, I had to take a flight to Las Vegas for a few days of meetings. My trip started off with a bang as I sat on the plane next to the champ, Mike Tyson.
Mike Tyson
Regardless of what Ive read about him in the press over the years, Mike is actually a very nice guy and spoke with me throughout the flight. He was on his way to Vegas to shoot Hangover 4. When I mentioned that I had just returned from Israel he began to ask me many questions about the “Holy Land” and told me that he was planning to go to visit some close friends of his who are “Black Hebrews”. When the flight attendant delivered my kosher lunch, he was excited to tell me that a couple years ago he and a business associate had planned on opening a chain of upscale kosher restaurants in New York. Mike Tyson…. unbelievable.

My plans for Vegas were to attend two different shuls…. Chabad of Southern Nevada and Young Israel Aish Las Vegas. Chabad of Southern Nevada was your typical friendly haimeshe shul, situated however in a not so common “Chabad like” setting….as the shul is located in a huge, beautiful building donated by Sheldon Adelson.
Chabad of Las Vegas
Chabad of Las Vegas 2

Young Israel Aish Las Vegas is an exciting shul, led by a bubbly and vibrant Rabbi one could only find in Las Vegas, Rabbi Yitz Wyne. “The Rabbi Show” hails from Las Vegas but is followed throughout the Jewish community across the U.S.

You have to give it a listen…..

On my last day in Las Vegas I heard about a very large clothing conference that was in town which hosted a substantial number of orthodox Jews from New York that were heavily involved in the clothing industry. The conference was being held at the Venetian Hotel and Casino. I wandered over there for morning minyan only to be shocked to see well over 150 conference attendees davening in one of the large conference rooms ! They had rented out one of the ballrooms for shacharit, mincha, maariv each day….to see this many people davening at 6:00 am was wild.
Venitian Hotel minyan

Addtionally, the davening was Sephardic with traditions that were quite different than the Ashkenazic ones I was accustomed to. Instead of having one person lead the prayers and daven for the amud, the Sephardic custom is to have different worshippers lead the various prayers, often from their seats. So I closed my eyes and heard the melodies in surround sound….I really enjoyed it.