Today, Jewish and Catholic Yalies are united in that they can’t eat a French dip sandwich in the dining hall.
As the Catholic Lent ends with Good Friday and Jewish Passover begins, the dining halls are striving to accommodate the specific dietary needs of Yalies observing the holidays.
For Catholics, today marks the seventh and final meatless Friday of Lent. Tonight is also the third night of Passover, which requires observers to eat only unleavened bread.
Peter Wimmer, manager of Commons dining hall, said Yale Dining Services is doing its best to ensure that students observing these holidays still have plenty of menu options to choose from.
For students celebrating Passover, dining halls are trying to do “little things that might make someone more comfortable,” Wimmer said. This week, students can find various foods targeted toward students celebrating Passover. In Commons, Yalies can find matzo and whipped cream cheese, as well as gefilte fish, kosher cereal and made-to-order omelets at every meal.
Elliott Mogul ’05, who is half Jewish, said that he appreciates the cultural sensitivity shown by dining services.
“It’s nice to see that the dining halls care and are making an effort to accommodate different dietary restrictions,” Mogul said.
Mogul is a member of the Yale Dining Services Advisory Committee.
Executive chef John Turenne said he looked through the menu for Passover week and made sure there was at least one main dish per meal prepared without flour. Today, Wimmer said the dining halls will serve grilled, unbreaded chicken parmesan, as well as chicken prepared the conventional way.
Though Commons and the residential college dining halls are not kosher, students may eat at Lindenbaum Kosher Kitchen in the Slifka Center. Every Friday night the Kosher Kitchen serves Shabbat dinner.
The dining halls also accommodate Catholic students during Lent. Lenten Friday menus are carefully planned to ensure that there is an array of fish and vegetarian dishes that observing Catholics can eat, Turenne said.
Muslim Yalies who observed Ramadan this year also had special dietary needs, as during Ramadan Muslims only can eat while the sun is down.
Students observing Ramadan were allowed to take food from the dining halls back to their rooms so they could fast during the day and eat at their leisure after sundown. Dining hall workers supplied them with cereal, fruit and lunch meats in a bag lunch-style meal.
Wimmer said he and the dining hall staff were committed to doing “anything we can do to try to help” students celebrating religious holidays.
Turenne also said he is committed to serving students.
“You try to do the best you can to please as many people as you can,” Turenne said.