Kosher Options Now on the Menu at Undergraduate Dining Center

Tufts Dining and Tufts Hillel open the new platform with supporting supervision from Rhode Island nonprofit Lighthouse Kosher 

The university’s first supervised kosher food platform in a dining center is now dishing up vegan meals such as sweet potato shepherd’s pie, tofu ratatouille, and mushroom artichoke panini.

Tufts Dining and Tufts Hillel opened the new platform this month, with supporting supervision from Lighthouse Kosher, a nonprofit based in Providence, Rhode Island, to provide meals prepared in compliance with Jewish laws. The platform, in Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center, is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday.

Kosher grain bowl

A sample of a grain bowl made by combining choices at the new kosher food platform. Photo: Doug Levy

The kosher platform comes at a time when the quality of residential college life is increasingly connected to providing food that meets students’ preferences. Fresh at Carmichael, a recent Tufts Dining initiative at Carmichael Dining Center, offers only foods that are free of gluten, peanuts, and tree nuts. Dewick-MacPhie also offers a platform, All9Free, serving foods free of nine top food allergens.

“Our students shouldn’t have to worry about finding their foods of choice, including those rooted in religion,” said Patti Klos, director of Tufts Dining. “The new platform, in service and in spirit, is another way that we make it easier for students to enjoy delicious, nutritious food together.”

President Anthony P. Monaco said the kosher food platform strengthens the university’s sense of community. “At Tufts, sharing meals has always been central to feelings of belonging and of fellowship,” he said. “Fortifying that communal experience is more important than ever, and by serving food with deep cultural and religious meaning, we acknowledge and celebrate the diversity that defines Tufts today.”

Tufts Hillel has long served kosher meals for Friday night dinner, holiday meals, and festive occasions, in partnership with Tufts Dining. Tufts Dining also operates Pax et Lox Kosher Deli, popular for take-out sandwiches and wraps.

Integrating kosher foods into a busy dining center strengthens the inclusion of Jewish students at Tufts, said Rabbi Naftali Brawer, Jewish chaplain and Neubauer executive director of Tufts Hillel. Dewick-MacPhie serves more than 3,500 meals a day.

“Not having a kosher dining option at Tufts has meant that kosher-observant students have had to struggle,” he said. “It has also meant that many potential students have avoided applying to Tufts. This new kosher platform redresses this historic shortcoming, and it signals to the Jewish community both at Tufts and beyond that the university is seriously committed to ensuring that Jewish life can flourish at Tufts.”

He said that a kosher food platform integrated into the wider Tufts dining experience, rather than in a separate dining hall, is important for building bridges.

“Sharing a meal with your peers is a wonderful way to build relationships, particularly across cultural and religious divides,” he said. “You do not need to be Jewish to enjoy kosher food! Food is an international language that allows us to cross cultural borders and expands our world.”

To fully comply with kosher laws, Tufts has partnered with Lighthouse Kosher, which combines Orthodox rabbinic supervision with promotion of plant-based foods that support ecological sustainability and social responsibility, said the nonprofit’s founder, Rabbi Barry Dolinger.

Dolinger, head mashgiach (kosher supervisor), said Lighthouse’s standards comply with Jewish laws governing ingredients, methods of preparation, and supervision. Tufts also will be using compostable plates.

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