October 25, 2010

More Colleges and Universities Opt for Kosher Programs

New York…The slate of colleges an universities in the US that offer kosher programs continues to expand as demand by students and faculty increases. Stanford University’s “Stanford Dining” launched a kosher option for students just a couple of weeks ago in addition to a kosher co-op community that existed briefly almost a decade ago, student Jacob Portes, ’11, told Kosher Today, Stanford has not typically ever had a sizeable Orthodox Jewish contingent among its student body. For instance, Friday night services under Orthodox auspices started only last year. In 2008, a couple of students wrote to University President John Hennessey requesting a viable kosher food option at school. After two years of effort and funds from Hillel donors, kosher food is now available to the student body, albeit three times a week, from Monday-Wednesday. Until now, Portes, a kosher dining intern, said he was cooking all of his food himself with his own pots and pans in his dorm room. Said Portes: “I really hope that the kosher food option will encourage more Orthodox Jews to apply to Stanford. The University is very supportive and is hoping to expand the program as the demand increases.

Temple University in Philadelphia recently opened the doors to a new kosher café, appropriately called Café 613. The new eatery is located in the university’s Hillel building, which opened last year. The café’s food, which includes traditional dishes such as matzoh ball soup and corned beef and pastrami on rye, can be purchased at no additional charge to the regular meal plan, and community members are welcome to Café 613 as well. The café bolsters the school’s already strong Jewish presence, including the Hillel, a Chabad house, and a rich Judaic Studies curriculum. Phil Nordlinger, Hillel’s director at Temple, estimates that there are approximately 3,000 Jewish students at the university. Said Nordlinger: “I believe that the university understands the significance of kosher food in attracting a segment of the Jewish population that has remained untapped at Temple. I believe it is part of the overall philosophy to transform from a commuter school to a residential one. It’s smart of the university to invest in this program as it has generated a lot of excitement within the Jewish community on campus and in the city.”