Let them eat bagels

Bagels, cream cheese and hummus lovers rejoice.

Continuing its seven-year tradition, Jewish student group Hillel@Ryerson will offer its free weekly lunch in the winter semester.

People are welcome anytime to the Hillel loft at 2A Elm St., but a kosher lunch is provided Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Bagels and cheeses in different flavours lined the food table, but Ruchie Shainhouse, Hillel president, has sushi and falafels for those who don’t like bagels.

According to Shainhouse, it’s hard to get students to attend the lunch at a commuter school like Ryerson, but Hillel provides an opportunity for members to enjoy each other’s company and Jewish culture.

“Every year we try to make activities more exciting—not just the food but something else, because they can go home (and eat),” Shainhouse said. “If we do a special activity or if we have a good atmosphere it brings people back.” Jewish holiday foods also provide variety.

During Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, the theme of apples and honey is used in food and for activities. The two symbolize a sweet start to the new year.

Another Hillel activity, inspired by the Sukkot holiday, is the building of miniature “sukkahs.” These are traditional wooden huts decorated with graham crackers and marshmallows, like gingerbread houses.

“My favourite (is), for Passover, (when) we did a chocolate seder,” Shainhouse said. “So instead of four cups of wine, it’s four cups of chocolate milk (and) instead of dipping vegetables into salt water, we did strawberries dipped in chocolate.”

Mitch Reiss, a Hillel member, has attended the lunches every week since 2008.

“I feel the bagel lunch is a very important event as it gives Jewish students an avenue on campus for good, free, kosher food every week as well as a time every week where students, both Jewish and non-Jewish, can come together to socialize,” Reiss said.

Shainhouse reiterated that the bagel lunch is about more than just food.

“There are some friendships that have developed over the years … from the lunches,” she said. “I’ve witnessed a few and have had a few myself.”

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