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Geisert will have kosher kitchen makeover

By SARAH HALLSTEIN ’12

Kosher sandwiches and salads are among the newest meal options on campus. Specially prepared kosher entrees became available earlier this semester at Center Court in Williams Hall and Outtakes in the Michel Student Center. The new options give students observing Jewish dietary laws an on-campus solution. "The kosher program is also a recruiting tool," said Ron Gibson, director of Food Services.

Kosher rules state that meat and dairy must be stored and prepared separately, and a trained observer must approve the finished product. Rabbi Eli Langsam of Chabad Lubavitch helps with the preparation, which takes place about every other day, depending on demand.

As a midsize institution, Bradley is ahead of the curve in providing kosher food. Only larger universities in the region are providing full meals. For example, the University of Illinois offers a kosher dinner every day, and Washington University in St. Louis has a complete kosher program.

 

Food Services employee Cindy Cabrera prepares kosher salads and sandwiches under the supervision of Rabbi Eli Langsam. In an effort to meet the dietary needs of Bradley's diverse student body, halal meats for Muslim students were another new offering last fall. Visit bradley.edu/hilltopics/go/halal for more information.

 

Plans are underway to expand Bradley's sandwiches and soups into a complete kosher kitchen with additions to the Geisert Hall cafeteria. The renovations begin this December and will be fully operational at the start of the 2011–12 school year. With these renovations, a kosher kitchen will be added and, as a result, students will be able to enjoy full kosher meals.

Gibson said that the kosher options have been well received by the local Jewish community. "I've actually received some inquiries from the outside public, because there isn't a Jewish or kosher carrier in the area. People who are practicing kosher must have goods shipped from Chicago, or go there and drive it back." The kosher food on campus is also available to the public.

According to Dr. Seth Katz, faculty adviser for Hillel, the University is recruiting more on the East Coast in cities such as New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, which have a greater population of Jewish families. He believes the kosher expansion is in line with the University's founding principles.

"We have a distinguished history of diversity here. Mrs. Bradley admitted everybody from the beginning. She admitted women to Bradley Polytechnic Institute at a time when many colleges and universities didn't. African-Americans from as far back as we know were admitted. Kosher food is creating the potential for a greater diversity of students to be comfortable at Bradley."

Muslim students are also appreciative of changes in food service. Halal food guidelines require animals to be slaughtered a certain way, and until now, Muslim students on campus could only get halal meat from home, or large cities like Chicago. "My mom would pack a whole bunch of food to send back with me," said BILALUDDIN MOHAMMED '11, president of the Muslim Student Association. Lunchmeat for sandwiches and meat for pizzas are available in Center Court, while chicken patties and hot dogs will be available soon. "There is no other university in Illinois offering this kind of access to halal food," said Mohammed.
http://www.bradley.edu/hilltopics/11winter/notebk/notebk2.shtml

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