Kosher foods and other topics related to Jewish culture were discussed at the ‘Kosher? I Hardly Know Her!’ event held by the RSO Hillel at SVSU on Jan. 28 in Curtiss Hall
Hillel International is an organization dedicated to uniting Jewish students on college campuses around the world to connect with and support each other.
Political science junior B Browne is the president of Hillel at SVSU. As SVSU’s only Jewish RSO, Browne explained what the group’s main objectives are.
“This is a space meant for Jewish students to explore and celebrate their Jewish identity, learning, growing, and living in a Jewish space,” they said. “Everyone is welcome here from those that have a strong Jewish background to those who have none at all.”
At the ‘Kosher? I Hardly Know Her!’ event, a Kahoot was prepared to test attendees’ knowledge of what foods are and are not considered kosher. Examples of kosher snacks were also available to try, including paczkis, chips, and challah bread.
Kosher foods are those which comply with Jewish dietary rules. In some cases, a food must be prepared in a specific way to be considered kosher while in other cases certain foods should be avoided entirely.
Browne said the event’s main purpose was to shed light on the importance that living a kosher lifestyle holds to many in the Jewish community.
“We wanted to be able to help people brush up on their knowledge of what kosher means and how to utilize that, as well as bringing awareness to gentiles about some of our restrictions,” they said. “Jews certainly aren’t the only group that refrains from eating certain foods out of moral obligation, but for many of us it’s an important part of our tradition and daily life.”
Social studies education freshman Kennedy Danner is the vice president of SVSU’s Hillel group. Danner said the event was intended to be a learning experience for all.
“These kinds of events are important for everyone because they help to educate,” she said. “The kosher lifestyle is unfamiliar to the average student, and we wanted to showcase it. Both Jewish and Non-Jewish students can benefit from learning about a lifestyle that’s different to their own.”
Browne hopes that through events like this, all students can become more well-versed in Jewish practices and how to better support their Jewish peers.
“It’s nice to know that there is a space for Jewish students on campus,” Browne said. “There’s been a huge spike in antisemitism over the last few years, much of which has been violent. Having a spot that is unapologetically and openly Jewish means that Jewish SVSU students know that they aren’t alone here and allows gentile students a chance to broaden their horizons and be an ally in a more informed way.”