Serving Halal in the Cafeteria

Does this conflict with bringing religion in public schools?

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Comments (18)

(12) Brian A.Donnelly, April 6, 2014 10:59 AM

Muslim muscle.

As a devout Christian, and therefore a staunch supporter of Israel and the Jewish people, I cannot entirely agree with your position of not allowing Religious topics or subjects to be discussed in schools.
Here in Australia we are sadly going the way of Europe and , I hope, to a lesser extent, the USA - we are caving into the incessant demands of the minority muslim population.
This recent demand for special foods; prayer rooms; dress codes etc. is simply another way that islam seeks to divide and conquer.
The growth of the Halal certification racket is mind blowing in its grab for cash from industry and small business to pay what amounts to extortion for the privilege of carrying a tick of Halal approval. In many cases the food, or service, is not subject to these food laws - but they demand their cut anyway. These semi-criminal proceeds are then used to fund further separationist behaviour and finance terrorist activities.
So, whilst I deplore the whole cancer od islam on Western society, I do defend the right of any religion or culture to allow that belief to be openly discussed in the Public school system - provided ALL have the same right.

(11) Anonymous, April 6, 2014 5:26 AM

Serve Halal food

Serve Halal food, as well as Kosher, vegetarian, and foods without common allergens.
I cannot see how this will result in prayers in classrooms and other religious practices.
It seems that we get more sensitive, perhaps not consciously, when we hear about Islam.

(10) Degel, April 6, 2014 5:07 AM

Resolution # 54 is a dangerous mistake

So the Muslims got this precedent happened and now it will cause a new serious of problems and headache:
1. Polarity among children. Reason for bulling will increase and you would not be able to control that because of the subtle environment
2. In order to fit the suit Muslims might start to claim that they are special, high rank group of children, add to that irrational peer pressure and mob mentality and in a short period of time some of the kids would think that they like to be Muslims…
3. Serving Halal in cafeteria is a dangerous precedent because fanatical terrorists can use this type of dividedness as strategy for their atrocious terrorists attack… now when all Muslims kids are “safe” with Halal food the rest school kids might be poisoned (G0d forbid) by some kind of biological weapon(G0d forbid).
There is no winner in this game!

(9) Bob Van Wagner, April 4, 2014 8:55 PM

Dangerous and false concept: separation of church and state at the community level

A careful and honest survey of the success and failure of schools will, to my experience, show one key determinant to the success or failure of a school again and again. That key? The level of involvement of the community. A community that is throughly involved in the operation and operating philosophy of the school is far more likely to be a successful one, and a school with no or little community involvement in it will more likely than not be a failure. And what does failure mean? It means that the children will suffer in morals, emotional discipline, learning and intellect.

A community ALWAYS includes a religious, and that includes sectarian, component. In fact, it is formal religion which is the framing and glue that holds communities together.

Especially primary and elementary schools should be very local to properly synchronize with the local community, in that time of life in which the children are developing their moral framework -- in nearly all case that is a framework which must be developed as a whole with the religion of the community.

The founders of the US understood this, that is the way of life they lived. At the time Constitution was written and ratified and the First Amendment discussed and incorporated most states had official religions and communities could and did tax ALL citizens to support not just schools run in a sectarian manner, but even to pay taxes towards the construction and maintenance of Churches. It wasn't until the mid-1800's that official State religions disappeared.

The deplorable modern "Constitutional Law" doctrine of the separation of church and state is one born out of spite and hatred. It is anathema to the original intent. It's inventor, Hugo Black, was a Klan member, who hated Jews, Blacks and Catholics. He ruled to spite the Catholics bussing their kids to Catholic Schools on the taxpayer dime.

(8) Anonymous, April 3, 2014 7:11 PM

provide options so students can receive free lunch if they qualify

I teach in a public school. If Halal food is not offered in public city schools many of those students who would qualify for free or partially subsidized lunch would not be able to receive it. These students may depend on receiving free or reduced price lunch in order to have something to eat. I think providing other options such as vegetarian and gluten free are also good ideas. As it is schools provide alternatives to the daily hot lunch meals, so why not give other options as deemed necessary according to the makeup of the student body. We need to remember that not all students can afford to "brown bag" it.

(7) Anonymous, April 3, 2014 4:23 PM

halal food in the schools

Providing halal (or kosher or vegetarian) food in the schools, strikes me as a reasonable accommodation for Muslim (or other, as the case may be) students. This differs from offensive and prohibited establishments of religion such as organized prayer in a school or providing facilities for the exclusive use of one group. If the state generally provides free lunches because that is viewed as beneficial to the educational process, especially where parents might not be able to provide appropriate lunches, the state probably is not required, but probably is not prohibited, from making available choices that cater to the needs of different groups. A member of those groups might or might not trust the certification, and issues could arise, as when Hindus discovered to their horror several years ago that a certain national chain's French fries had been sprayed with beef tallow. Some might prefer a system where students who cannot eat the "regular" food got credits that they could exchange for prepackaged foods that met their needs. The question is sometimes easy and sometimes a close one. In prisons, for example, it is easy to conclude that the state must provide food choices and cannot say "just brown-bag it" (i.e., let you families bring in your food or don't land in jail in the first case). In public schools with a small observant Jewish population, the school could well say that the cost for kosher food is not worth the benefit, but once they decide that another group will be accommodated because they are larger and the cost-benefit balance comes out in favor, then nondiscrimination considerations might require paying for kosher etc. for the few that demand it. And there are unintended consequences. There was an interesting story recently in Florida where non-Jews seem to want the kosher food because they think it is more wholesome and tasty.

(6) Mati, April 3, 2014 3:11 PM

Kosher food is good for Muslims

so why not serve kosher? On the other hand, why would Jews be in secular schools anyway? They don't belong there and there is no need. On the other hand serving kosher might get secular Jews to think more of their Torah and ancestry. On the other hand.....

michael swanger, April 3, 2014 6:05 PM

foods served

in public schools should not be specifically kosher or halel. They should, however, not serve forbidden foods such as pork and shellfish. We need not cave into the moslems nor any specific groups. Jews are in public schools often because they cannot afford private schools and they can help set a proper standard of social conduct. Brown bagging is a good suggestion and one which I did often times as a school boy

Rachel, April 3, 2014 10:35 PM

Public schools are supposed to serve all children

1. Why would Jews be in secular schools? BECAUSE SOME OF US CANNOT AFFORD DAY SCHOOLS. Also, public schools must take all children; they don't refuse to re-enroll kids who are having academic problems.

2. Were I a member of the NYC council or whatever governing body is in charge, and my constituents came to me saying "my children need _______" food choices, I would do my job and try to get it enacted. That's how democracy works.

3. We are talking about food here, not religion. Many children receive free lunches because their families are low income. It's very nice, Rabbi Salomon, that if you didn't like the school lunches you just brought it from home, but not everyone can afford to provide their children with an appropriate lunch.

By the way, "fish on Friday" in all sorts of cafeterias dates back to when Catholics strictly observed the practice of not eating meat on Friday. (This has since been modified by the Church to being required only during the pentitential period of Lent.)

Personally, I think the solution would be to make appropriate food items available a la carte for everyone. This is done in some university and hospital cafeterias now, with sealed sandwiches and sealed microwave entrees available for those who wish to choose kosher, vegetarian, etc.

In any event, the slippery slope argument about allowing students to choose the appropriate food does not seem to violate the First Amendment. Similarly, children who wish to read religious-themed books, dress in garb required by their own faith, etc. are permitted to do so. Reasonable accommodations of individual religious behavior is the standard. This is a far cry from requiring all students to observe communal school prayer.

(5) Michael, April 3, 2014 3:03 PM

Seperation of Religion and State

The Rebi is correct. The problem now is we are restricted to bringing foods not prepared commercially to insure that there are no "peanuts" in the mix. So much for P and J sandwiches I also grew up enjoying. One solution is just serve vegetarian foods and let the meats stay home and as the Rebi stated, brown bag it according to the school rules. Nutrition is the key not the religion. Let's stay focused on LUNCH not Halal or Kosher etc.

(4) Anonymous, April 2, 2014 9:53 PM

I respectfully disagree

As a Jew, I try to influence the world to magnify and sanctify G-d's name.

Making sure we ignore Him in the public square is incompatible with my mission.

As s Jew, I try to take care of peoples' needs.

Denying food to the hungry is incompatible with my mission.

As a Jew, I only consume kosher cuisine.

A norm mandating convenient availability of such a menu would materially enhance my lifestyle.

Altruistically and selfishly, I applaud New York's model and hope the rest of the world adopts it soon.

Anonymous, April 4, 2014 2:55 AM

What "you" do is laudable, However, enhancement of anyone's lifestyle should not be a priority in public schools.

(3) SusanE, April 2, 2014 8:20 PM

Peanuts Gluten Vegan Meat Dairy Aggggh.

I agree with Rabbi Salomon. If your food is religon special, bring it with you. If the food your children eat is that important, you wouldn't trust it to the schools to provide anyway. Public schools think Pizza and soda is an acceptible lunch for all children. Send lunch with your religious child.

(2) Anonymous, April 1, 2014 12:38 PM

Cafeteria food is notoriously high in fat and low in nutrition. What we need to do is to provide HEALTHY food for all children.

DAVID FRANKEL, April 3, 2014 3:39 PM


(1) jools, April 1, 2014 5:03 AM

If we let them eat McDonalds, we can let them eat Hallel/Kosher/Vegetarian

It is naïve to think that we raise our children in totally ideologically neutral environments.

I see very little objection to exposing children to the messages of the corporate world (NIKE, McDonalds) at schools. So why is everyone up in arms when presented with the ideals of religious organizations, whose motivations can be more noble than corporate greed?

Whatever we eat reflects certain values that are decided upon by someone else. Jewish people, more than most, are aware of this.

Anonymous, April 1, 2014 12:41 PM

I must also comment on what the rabbi said re: bringing lunch from home. Far too many children are living in poverty and their parents do not have adequate food to send from home. Therefore, we MUST provide adequate nutrition at school. As I stated in an earlier post, the school lunches are high in fat and low in nutrition. This deadly combination is one of the reasons we have childhood obesity.

Zelej, April 4, 2014 2:45 AM

Parents of children living in poverty are usually recipients of food stamps. It is parent's obligation to take care of children's nutritional needs. Schools are for learning. Not for providing "healthy" (or any sectarian) food. .


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