Monday, January 27, 2014

Kosher on Campus

Sorry to come out of left field, but this article in Tablet magazine really struck a cord with me.

Let me preface this by saying that I don't keep kosher.  I never have, and though I don't rule out a time when I might, I don't yet.  I do however abstain from eating all manner of pork, so I guess that's something.

Back when I was a college student at Carnegie Mellon University, I was actively involved in our Dining committee.  We had a very crazy dining plan.  Esentially it was a debit card system.   You had a certain amount of money based upon what time it was (aka $5 for breakfast till 10:30am, then $6 for lunch till 3pm, then $7 for dinner until 1am when the last dining facility closed).  You could spend more than that amount, but if you used a 'meal block' it would be worth that amount of money.  Of course, no one had meals that you could just buy (say the subway lunch of a sandwich, chips and a drink).  Everything was priced as a regular restaurant would, ala carte.  So, getting together a meal was quite a challenge.

Nothing was worse than when it was Passover.  I keep kosher for passover.  I have a separate set of Passover dishes, I only use kosher meat, and I don't mix milk and meat.  During Passover the school used to bring in frozen entrees from somewhere.  You could get that, but they were always $8.  Not to mention the fact that they didn't include a drink, a side or even a slice of matzah.  Then the only options were to heat them in the communal microwave- which if you were kosher, wasn't a kosher option...

Finally, after a long time they realized that not only was the meal block system totally confusing and devoid of any ability to eat a nutritious meal, but that frozen entrees for Kosher students just wasn't cutting it.  Enter the Kosher Korner, and a Kosher restaurant on campus.

Here at UCLA where I work, things are about the same.  They have a grab and go section of Kosher food in Ackerman, and are incredibly expensive.  It seems like they are where CMU was about 10 years ago, still not really responding to the needs of students.  Hillel, however does have a hot entree and a full kosher meal available. 

This all falls back to what my father used to say about us being Jewish.  It's not about whether you need it or not.  Sometimes it's about standing with your fellow man and helping them get what they need.  Then occasionally buying in too.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...