Op-Ed: Kosher Food Back on Campus

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Op-Eds detail the views of their writers and are not representative of the stance of the paper, even if the writer is on the paper’s staff. Publication of Op-Eds is not tantamount to an endorsement of their content. 

In May of 2023,  I published an investigative op-ed in The Knight News on the state of kosher food on campus. I argued that Queens College, despite its public emphasis on food equity, was leaving Jewish students behind in their advocacy of that mission. I discussed how some students were choosing to not eat at all due to the lack of time and/or money to walk to Main Street and purchase food from the stores there. I also argued that the lack of kosher options on campus was a negative factor in prospective Jewish students’ evaluation of Queens College as an option to continue their education.

Apparently, the administration of Queens College listened. Despite conversations with some administrators suggesting that a return of hot kosher food to campus would not occur before the Spring of 2024, Queens College sent out an email to all students on August 24th announcing the return of not only hot food, but hot kosher food in the form of the vendor Knish Nosh.

However, many Jewish students have expressed concerns about Knish Nosh, namely, that it wasn’t adequately certified kosher to a standard which they would feel comfortable eating at. A few days later, the college responded to this concern by quickly working with Queens College Hillel to add another hot kosher option on campus. 

On August 30th, the Mizza food truck began parking outside of the Student Union. Mizza’s signature dish is, as one might expect, is their “Mizza” which consists of various meats served on a pizza base without cheese due to kosher restrictions on the serving of meat and dairy products together. Recently, the truck has expanded its offerings to include tacos and “loaded” (topped with meat) hot dogs.

While the response from many students on campus has been positive due to the easy access to accessible kosher food, other students were more equivocal. Yaacov Strickon, a junior Environmental Science student, told The Knight News that while Mizza is a positive first step and much-needed stopgap option, it cannot replace the full-service Kosher Cafe the college once had. “In the past the Kosher Cafe was a place for Jews on campus to meet each other and build community, it’s important for us to have that inside sit down space once again,” Strickon said.

The college has made some indications that the current food options, both kosher and not through Mangia Fresco, are, for the time being, interim solutions for the time being while it searches for a permanent vendor to operate the food services on campus in the Spring of 2024 or beyond. President Frank Wu also promised in his September 2023 issue of “Frankly Speaking” that, “Additions to menus will take place throughout the semester.”

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