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Kosher deli−style eatery coming to campus this spring

Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 08:11

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MCT

Due to student interest, Dining Services will open a deli-style eatery this spring. Located next to Jumbo Express, the space will serve kosher meats and several other items that cannot be found elsewhere on campus.

Dining Services will open a kosher deli next semester, transforming the Jumbo Express storage space near the Mayer Campus Center into a take−out eatery with kosher meats and sandwiches.

Although the deli will not open full−time until next fall, construction will begin this winter so the space will be ready to test−run during a few weeks of the spring semester. Renovations will involve relocating the Jumbo Express cash register so the storage room can open into the existing storefront where the two shops will share an entrance, Director of Dining and Business Services Patricia Klos said.

“It’s a permanent but short−term opportunity to make kosher meats available to students during weekdays,” she said.

Dining Services created the deli in response to student interest in having kosher meats in the dining hall, Klos said. Currently, Tufts Hillel is the only organization that provides kosher meals, for Friday dinner and Saturday lunch, she added.

Students who keep kosher, the Jewish dietary laws that forbid those who observe them from eating all meat currently served by Dining Services, only have vegetarian options in the dining halls, Associate Director of the Hillel Center Lenny Goldstein said.

“What we hear from current students is that they would like more options,” Goldstein said. “For most students on campus who keep kosher, they’re comfortable eating vegetarian food in the dining hall. But there are other students who keep a stricter diet.”

To attract all students looking for alternative dining options, the deli will offer kosher hot dogs, deli meat sandwiches, salads and soups that are not offered at other campus eateries, senior Samuel Sittenfield, the kosher supervisor at Tufts Hillel, said.

“If Jewish students who keep kosher are the only students going there, it is not going to make a profit,” he said.

The eatery may also cater events for Hillel, which currently relies on off−campus kosher restaurants for such services, Sittenfield added.

Since there will not be a full kitchen to prepare food in the deli, an outside food vendor will bring in the necessary certified kosher products, Klos said.

In addition to consulting with students at Hillel, Dining Services plans to reach out to the International Center and the Muslim Students Association to see how the deli may be able to accommodate other students’ dietary needs, Klos said.

“The fact that they’re bringing students into the process really speaks volumes about what they’re trying to do,” Goldstein said.

Klos explained that funding for the project is derived from Dining Service’s annual budget for refurbishing existing dining facilities.

“We’ve been accumulating money,” she said. “We try to budget very carefully and spend meal plan money very wisely so that we can do projects like this.”

Dining Service’s long−term plan is to renovate either the Carmichael or Dewick−MacPhie Dining Center to install a fixed kosher meal station for students, Klos noted.

This large−scale project, however, will not be feasible for at least several years until the necessary financial means are established, she said.

Although eating at Tufts has not been an issue for Sittenfield, who identifies as a conservative Jew, he said he sees the importance of kosher options from Dining Services.

“People who are interested in having a regular kosher option are sort of at an awkward place,” he said. “There are people who really care a lot about it, and people who, if it were offered, would take advantage of it.”

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