Students at the University of Connecticut have a new choice in the school's food court – and it's kosher.
The University of Connecticut formally dedicated the $300,000 Morris N. Trachten Kosher Dining Facility on October 2. The kosher dining facility is part of a $6.5 million, 20,000-square-foot food court featuring seven other food service stations and seating for 400. The facility, which opened at the beginning of the semester, serves students who observe kosher dietary laws – including not only observant Jewish students, but Muslim students as well.
University Food Services is responsible for food preparation under the supervision of the Hartford Kashrut Commission. The facility includes a 1,000-square-foot kitchen space for the preparation of meat and dairy food, and serves three meals a day, seven days a week.
"This is a celebration of diversity - recognition that each of us has his or her own cultural and religious identity and the concurrent recognition that we're all part of a single University of Connecticut community," said University President Phil Austin at the dedication. "It gives us another vehicle to honor specifically UConn's Jewish community, which has long been such a valuable part of the institution's life."
In dedicating the facility, President Austin thanked the donor, Connecticut philanthropist Morris Trachten. "Morris, this facility is strengthening the Jewish community, helping attract excellent students, adding to the diversity of the campus, and overall helping make the University of Connecticut a better place," said the president.
University of Connecticut Hillel Executive Director Debbie Rubenstein praised the new facility: "This is an important step forward in accommodating the growing Jewish community at the university.
Over the last decade the University established of an M.A. Program in Judaic Studies, and sponsorship of a major archeological excavation in Sepphoris, Israel. Jewish life on campus has improved dramatically for the more than 1,200 students with the expansion of programming at Hillel. On Friday evenings, there are three Shabbat services offered at Hillel, reform, conservative, Chabad. Together the communities have Shabbat dinner at the Morris N. Trachten Kosher Dining Facility.