Spring 2021 Kosher Dining FAQS:
Change to the UMD Spring Schedule:
As was recently communicated by the University, students are asked to stay in their residences, whether living on campus or off campus for two weeks upon arrival. As partners of the University, Hillel will be following this protocol in all aspects of our work:
- Hillel’s dining facility will operate on a grab-and-go basis only.
- Shabbat meals will also be grab-and-go
To keep our community safe, Hillel urges students to comply with the University’s directive and help abate the risks of COVID-19 to our campus community. We look forward to being able to come together in person (at a safe distance) soon.
After these two weeks, we will implement in-person dining and programming in a COVID-19 sensitive way.
Q: Will Hillel provide a dine-in option?
A: Health codes are constantly evolving, but as things stand, we are authorized to host indoor dining within Hillel. We also have a large outdoor event tent, which can host additional seating. All dining spaces will adhere to health and safety codes.
Q: What if my child can’t/ doesn’t want to eat inside Hillel?
A: New this year Hillel has a “Grab & Go” option.
Q: Will dining be available for those not on a dining plan?
A: Yes, you can pay for any meal during the week at the register (does not apply to Shabbat).
Q: Will Hillel cater to particular dietary needs?
A: We do our utmost to ensure that any student who wishes to participate in kosher dining is not prevented from doing so because of dietary restrictions. We are a nut-free facility, and typically offer gluten free, allergy sensitive, and vegetarian options. Please be in touch if there are other dietary accommodations you need us to make, and we will do our absolute best.
Q: If school is closed will I get a refund?
A: In the unfortunate event that school returns to a fully virtual environment and students are asked to leave campus, we will do our utmost to maximize a refund to you. We will apportion the balance of kosher dining income, minus kosher dining expenditure, to all meal plan holders on a pro rata basis.
Q: When do you have to purchase meals by (not full meal plan)?
A: All other meal plans can be purchased at any time, but we must receive payment 48 in advance of when you plan to begin using it.
Q: What will Shabbat meals look like?
A: On Shabbat, Hillel will offer meals to be picked up and eaten at Hillel or taken to-go. We will also run various Shabbat programs for students to come together to dine or to take food from Hillel to host their own meals. Traditionally, Hillel has also catered Shabbat meals at other locations on campus, and we will do so contingent on health regulations. We welcome your consideration of a donation to help provision free to student Shabbat experiences.
Q: What does Hillel recommend for Pesach?
A: Pesach is one week after UMD’s Spring Break and will occur during a University-mandated period of quarantine (2 weeks after Spring Break, no classes will be in person and students are asked to stay in their residences). Hillel will provide meals, and we are working to create intimate seder opportunities, pending University and Prince George’s County approval. Where students feel compelled to return home, we ask that they remain at home for the duration of the chaggim to minimize travel, which increases the risk of infection.
Q: Will Hillel be providing kitchen staff with adequate and appropriate PPE, as well as adequate break times when they can get fresh air without their PPE?
A: Yes, Kitchen staff will be provided with PPE as well as appropriate break time.
Q: Will Hillel staff be held to the same health and safety standards as students? Will Hillel staff be enforcing health and safety standards, and will there be consequences for noncompliance?
Q: I heard that kosher dining subsidizes Hillel’s operations. Is this true?
A: Maryland Hillel has tried for years to dispel this falsehood. It is simply incorrect. In a typical year, Maryland Hillel loses over $100,000 providing kosher food to our students. This year, we face additional costs due to PPE procurement and additional labor needs to comply with regulations. We are deeply indebted to those donors who assist in covering the shortfall. Were we to pass on the real cost of provisioning kosher food to students, the price would be markedly higher.
Q: Doesn’t the University or Hillel International subsidize the food?
A: The University of Maryland is a dear partner to Maryland Hillel. The administration goes out of its way to support Hillel’s efforts. However, this support stops short of direct financial support. Maryland Hillel does not receive direct funding from the University of Maryland. We are blessed that Hillel International supports some of our staff positions and programming. However, this support does not cover kosher food. Hillel must run a robust annual campaign of some $1 million to operate.