I Am Not Having Fun

By: Evan Zwebner  |  January 1, 2023

By Evan Zwebner

As the sun sets on Fall 2022, an eerie and frightening gray has been cast over Washington Heights and I’m not talking about the weather. It is time to address what, in recent weeks, has been at the forefront of every YU-related discussion board. No longer can we ignore the massive elephant in the room. There is one glaring issue at YU that comes up repeatedly at Shabbos tables which we have been too comfortable brushing off and pretending like it doesn’t bother us. 

For too long we have acted like this isn’t our war; that we will let “them” fight their own battle. I am here today to say “enough is enough.” It is time to band together, arm in arm and emerge from the sidelines, truly embodying our battle cry of “Kol Yisrael Areivim.” It is time for us to be heard.

People may read this and strongly believe that I am backing the wrong horse, but just because I am an “in-towner” and can live at home for finals week, does not mean that I will stand idly by as my “out of town” peers have to suffer a woeful Cram and Crunch. Sure, I can indulge in any treat my heart desires at the darkest hours of the night, while procrastinating for a test I have known about for months, but my friends can’t. Not all heroes wear capes and, gentleman, in this case, your hero has a red beard. And a massive final tomorrow which he has not begun studying for. But this is way more important. Let’s get into it.

Each semester during the week of finals, the students at our wonderful institution have become accustomed to what is known as “Cram and Crunch” or “Cram ‘N Crunch” or something like that. In simple terms, we get good food late at night as a reward for procrastinating. A tradition like no other. In semesters past, we have been treated to delectable dishes from destinations ranging from “Carlos and Gabby’s” to “Holy Schnitzel” to other variations of deep-fried chicken. Much to the current student body’s chagrin, this year, on Wilf, we were offered Nature Valley Bars. I kid you not. Now, in case you think I am peddling revisionist history, I sifted through the bajillion unread emails from my YU career and found flyers from recent years’ Cram and Crunch. One year, we had Chop Chop, Ice Cream (w/ pareve options- important that our lactose-free community is seen), Carlos and Gabby’s, and Donuts+Cookies (both on one night). What a week that was. Another year: Donuts, Sushi, Chinese, and Chulent– arguably a better foursome than the Beatles. Was this year really that much worse? Try this on for size: Cereal, Nature Valley Bars, Ice Cream, and Soup. Embarrassing. 

Listen, I have no clue who is responsible for this, nor do I want to know. I just want change. I don’t want this for me– this was never about me! I’m not making my YU publication debut for my own good, but to be a voice for the little guy. I stand for the cute little Chicago kid feeling lost in a big city, with nowhere to turn except to his pathetic bowl of soggy Frosted Flakes. I’m doing this for him. I’m not asking for much, I just want to remember what it was like to feel something.