Student Spotlight: Sophomore keeps kosher
Imagine only being able to eat a quarter of the food offered on campus.
This is the case for those students at Towson who eat kosher, including sophomore Jessica Betaharon.
Eating kosher means that Betaharon only eats foods that are prepared according to Jewish law.
“It’s my personal choice not to eat non-kosher meats,” Betaharon said. “And what makes the meat kosher is the way that it’s butchered and the process of how it’s made so if the meat is not kosher, then I won’t eat it.”
Betaharon said that Towson has a fairly large number of options that fit her food specifications.
In Newell Dining Hall for example, there is a ‘Kosher Korner’ that offers students the choice of meats prepared by a qualified Mashgiach, a member of the Jewish faith who supervises food establishments to ensure that the food prepared there is kosher.
“I live in West Village so if I am too lazy to walk [to Newell] then I will go to the Commons or some other place to eat…I will eat vegetarian if I go to a different dining hall,” Betaharon said.
But for Jewish students, keeping their faith is not only about eating kosher foods.
When looking for colleges, Betaharon said she had to make sure that whatever school she chose not only carried kosher foods so that she would be able to eat, but also had a Hillel, the foundation for Jewish campus life.
Since Betaharon came to Towson, Hillel has become a big part of her life.
“I knew that I wanted to do it when I came here,” Betaharon said “It’s kind of a home away from home because you walk in there and you always recognize the people that are there.”
Hillel holds services for Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest, every Friday night, as well as services for holidays like Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur and other social events.
All of their services and events are open to anyone interested.
“These events are put on for everyone you don’t have to be Jewish to affiliate yourself with Hillel there are actually a lot of non-Jews affiliated with Hillel and they really enjoy the events and they like learning the cultural and the religious aspects of Judaism,” Betaharon said.
When she isn’t attending Hillel, Betaharon said she sometimes likes to go to Chabad, an international organization located on Aigburth Road that reaches out to Jewish students in the area.
They host dinners for Shabbat and many other Jewish holidays.
Betaharon said she likes going to Chabad because it provides a feeling of home.
“I like that Chabad it’s in their actual house… they have home-cooked meals,” Betaharon said. “Sometimes you want a break from the dining food.”