We’ve all heard it before: You are what you eat. But when you’re a vegan, a vegetarian or kosher Jew, your food choices literally define you. And now – thanks to the addition of the $1 million kosher/vegetarian dining hall in the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program’s Sylvia Vlosky Yaschik Jewish Studies Center – you can be all of those things … and a Cougar!
Opening in January 2016, the new 5,000-square-foot dining facility will feature curved ceiling details, cool pastel colors, an entry wall of Jerusalem stone and seating for 75 people. Open all day long, the restaurant will be available to students with meal plans as well as the public.
“We want the community involved – to come in any time and grab something to eat,” says Mark Swick, community liaison for the Jewish studies program, adding that the facility is easily accessed from Wentworth Avenue and includes casual outdoor seating. “We’re pushing the community aspect because we want people to have the mindset that our Jewish community extends beyond campus, that the College is a real part of Charleston and vice versa.”
Watch the video below to learn more about Jewish life at the College:
“We want it to be a place where people do what they do: Get together and eat,” agrees Marty Perlmutter, director of Jewish studies and the new dining hall’s honorary namesake. “It is a vegan/vegetarian restaurant that is designed to be attractive to the local community.”
The dining hall is also designed to attract prospective Jewish students who may or may not be kosher observant.
“Most of the time, Jewish students and their families do not keep kosher, but it’s a symbol that the College values its Jewish population and offers a strong Jewish experience,” says Helen Slucki, Jewish student recruitment counselor. “Often Jewish families have a mental checklist when they’re considering colleges: They want there to be a Hillel, they want to see a major and minor in Jewish studies and they want kosher food options.
“Once those things are ticked off,” Slucki continues, “they’re just interested in the school itself. But before that next step, they need to be sure these needs are met. So, this is really going to be a game changer in terms of recruitment.”
“It’s, in my mind, another feather in the College’s cap,” says Perlmutter. “Diversity extends to what and how one chooses to eat. This will really help us reach out to vegan and vegetarian students, too. It’s a great way to show all of our prospective students that they’ll find interesting, informed and different people at the College of Charleston.”
After all, we may be what we eat, but – around here – we’re all Cougars.