By Elka Wiesenberg, Opinion Editor
If you don’t eat cholent, are you even Jewish? This a real question I’ve heard thrown around, semi-seriously.
Yes, actually, I am Jewish. And if you didn’t put meat in your cholent, sure, I would eat it.
You don’t eat meat? Are you– *gasp*– a vegetarian? Worse, are you a vegan?
Nope, I’m neither. I don’t eat red meat, though, and I’m a total fleish-a-phobe (someone who doesn’t like eating meat/poultry because of the prohibition of eating dairy afterwards for an extended period of time — for me, six hours). But plenty of my YU friends are vegetarian or vegan, and Stern is not very accomodating of this fact.
“Did you hear that Le Bistro is closed tomorrow?” asked a classmate of mine, as I walked into lab today. “Yep.” I just read the YU Operations email, that proclaimed in bolded letters: “Election Day/ Tuesday, November 5th, 2019/ Belfer Hall Sky Cafe & Le Bistro (215 Lex)/ will be closed.”
This isn’t the first time Le Bistro has been closed on a school day. In fact, Le Bistro is closed for dinner every Thursday night and it doesn’t reopen until Monday morning.
Le Bistro is the non-meat cafeteria. When it is closed– namely, every weekend– only Kushner Dining Hall, the 245 cafeteria, is open. Kushner is dairy Sunday-Thursday for breakfast/lunch, but it only has meat options for dinner. While there is a salad bar, there is no hot vegetarian option on Thursday and Sunday nights, and yogurts and refrigerated dairy products are padlocked away.
Another problem with the 245 cafeteria being the only one open is convenience, or lack thereof. “If the caf is closed, the school needs to be closed,” complains Miriam Rahbaran, SCW ‘21. She says, “It’s so annoying to go back and forth between school buildings just to get food. We don’t have enough time between classes for that, and it’s midterms now.”
Students need the 215 cafeteria open on weekends, and they especially need it open on regular school days, midterms or otherwise. The options it offers are important to students’ nutrition, particularly those who don’t eat meat, and it is much more convenient to many students than 245.
If YU wants to argue that it’s too much money to keep 215 open over the weekends, my response: What are we paying these expensive caf “membership fees” for if not to keep our main, and, for the majority of students without kitchens, only, dairy food source open for our use and convenience?