This week is the Jewish holiday Passover. For eight days, we do not eat any
bread or bread products, including pasta. It’s an important holiday for us as it
commemorates our freedom thousands of years ago.
I would think that in these times of trying to build cultural awareness,
people would be more sensitive to holidays that are unfamiliar to them. Most of
all, I would expect West Chester University to be a supporter of building that
awareness that will help us understand one another better. That is why I was
shocked at what occurred tonight. On Monday, April 25th, two days after
Passover began, I went to dinner at Lawrence Dining Hall. I figured that they
would have some food that was kosher for Passover. They had a section
specifically for those observing Passover. The food included spinach, pasta and
sauce, and matzah. There were also plastic plates and forks supplied. Initially, I
was apprehensive about getting this food. After all, regular pasta is clearly not
kosher for Passover. However, I figured that since they were knowledgeable
enough to supply plastic dinnerware, they had to have known to get kosher
pasta, one that is made by Manischewitz. I decided to get some of the pasta
since there wasn’t much for me to eat. Later, a friend and I asked one of the
managers if it was in fact kosher for Passover. Smirking but without hesitation
he said “no, but it will be tomorrow”, with no signs of remorse.
I am disgusted and offended by what happened today. Observing Passover
is very important to the entire Jewish community and myself here at school. The
staff at Lawrence put food out that they knew was not kosher and passed it off
as being so. It shouldn’t be our responsibility to investigate the matter to be
certain that we are being served a proper meal for our holiday. We have broken
our observance without our knowledge under the assumption that the staff
would have been more sensitive and understanding. It’s unethical to do such a
thing. Surely they would not provide hamburgers for Lent on Fridays and call
them “veggie burgers”. It would be just as disrespectful and ignorant.
There are plenty of resources out there for the managers of the dining hall
to use to insure that they are serving proper food for our holidays. I am
disappointed that a school that appears to attempt to enhance diversity and
cultural awareness should do such a thing. Something needs to change for the
future students of West Chester University.