Source: Religion & Ethics Newsweekly:"Feature: Halal - Kosher Dining at Dartmouth"
As student bodies become more diverse, universities must begin to deal with issues such as how to accommodate religious dietary requirements. The Pavilion at Dartmouth College is an inter–religious campus dining hall featuring kosher, halal and vegetarian meals. This video from Religion & Ethics Newsweekly reports on the new dining area, a joint effort by both Muslim and Jewish students, which includes four separate kitchens, three sets of cooking implements and two dishwashing rooms.
Islam and Judaism are considered “Abrahamic” faiths, since both trace their history back to the patriarch Abraham. In Islam, both Christians and Jews are considered Ahl al-Kitab, or “People of the Book,” recognizing the divinely revealed origin and monotheistic beliefs of the two faith traditions. There are also other similarities between Islam and Judaism which are, in many ways, greater than their differences. Among the many things that Muslims and Jews share are dietary laws and restrictions. Adherents of both faiths sometimes have difficulty in meeting halal or kosher requirements outside the home.
Muslims eat what is considered halal or lawful. Foods that are not lawful are haram or forbidden. Foods that are halal or haram are determined by the Qur’an, the divinely revealed holy book of Islam, and hadith, the written record of the Prophet Muhammad’s sayings, practices and habits. In the Qu’ran, few items are expressly forbidden, namely the flesh of swine (pork), blood, meat of carcasses, meat of predatory animals, and meat of animals slaughtered in the name of anything other than the one God. When Muslims slaughter animals for consumption they must treat the animal respectfully, inflict a minimum amount of pain and pronounce the name of God during the act, symbolizing recognition of his bounty and role as creator of all things. Such blessed meat is halal, a designation similar to kosher. In fact, the Qu’ran states that kosher meat from Ahl al-Kitab is permissible for Muslims to eat. Such legal provisions serve to reiterate the common monotheistic bond of the Abrahamic religions.
Halal and kosher restaurants can be found wherever there are large concentrations of Muslims or Jews, but outside of these areas many faithful have few options when dining out. College cafeterias and dining halls in particular have posed a challenge for observant Muslims and Jews. However, on a few campuses Muslims and Jews have partnered up to create halal-kosher dining halls or meal plans that accommodate their religious beliefs. The halal-kosher dining hall at Dartmouth College has proven to be an asset in bringing the Muslim and Jewish communities together and has the potential to attract more students from diverse backgrounds.
Halal-Kosher Dining at Dartmouth
BOB ABERNETHY, anchor: Ivy League schools such as Dartmouth were once considered the bastion of white, Anglo-Saxon Protestantism. But now, student bodies are becoming more diverse and universities being forced to deal with new issues -- not the least of which, how to accommodate religious dietary requirements. Observant Jews follow kosher rules, while Muslims observe requirements known as "halal". Many Hindus follow a strict vegetarian diet called "sakahara". This week, Dartmouth unveiled a new dining hall to accommodate all of those traditions. Kim Lawton reports.
KIM LAWTON: In an increasingly pluralistic society, serving a religiously sensitive dinner can be a complex endeavor.
DAVID NEWLOVE (Dartmouth Dining Services): What we try to do is accommodate everybody's laws, and make sure we don't have any possibility of contaminating somebody's food. To be respectful to their wishes.
LAWTON: That means having four separate kitchens, three sets of cooking implements, and two dishwashing rooms. To avoid confusion and contamination, the staff has an elaborate color-coding system for everything from chopping knives to serving trays. Since kosher rules prohibit preparing and serving meat and dairy foods together, one of the kitchens is literally locked while another is in use.
Mr. NEWLOVE: So what we do in the case of anything that's dairy, we either lock it up or cover it when it's a meat meal.
LAWTON: Many Muslims will eat kosher food when halal is not available. Under both rules, eating pork is forbidden. But halal requirements differ from kosher on several points. For example, while it's not necessary to separate meat and dairy under halal, alcohol products such as vanilla extract are forbidden. Also, the Jewish and Muslim practices differ for slaughtering animals.
The sakahara, or Hindu vegetarian, component of the Pavilion, came along later in the planning process. Although vegetables are served in all of the kitchens, in the Hindu stations, they are carefully separated -- again, by color coding -- so they don't come into contact with any meat or dairy products.
The Pavilion is the culmination of years of planning and collaboration by Muslim and Jewish students and faculty. Now, the different groups break bread together in the dining hall.
JASON SPITALNICK (Jewish Student): We came here yesterday, there were Muslims and Jews sitting down for lunch together, and I expect that to happen quite a bit.
LAWTON: The students hope that sharing meals every day will be a bridge between communities that are often in conflict in the rest of the world.
YOUSEF HAQUE (Muslim Student): It will change the relationships and cultivate, kind of, more support between the communities and, you know, encourage dialogue.
LAWTON: Any student at Dartmouth can eat at the Pavilion -- it's on the regular campus meal plan. It's also the only public kosher restaurant in the state of New Hampshire.
I'm Kim Lawton reporting.
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