Not Your Usual Kashrut Supervisors

This piece was first published as “Girls are to thank for new kosher sushi at Palo Alto JCC” in JWeekly.

Students Chana Crystal (left) and Sarah Spiro affix Meira Academy kosher certification labels to the sushi. photos/courtesy meira academy

Students Chana Crystal (left) and Sarah Spiro affix Meira Academy kosher certification labels to the sushi. photos/courtesy meira academy

Of all the things teenage girls are into, being a kosher supervisor isn’t one of them. Unless you’re a student at Meira Academy, an all-girls Orthodox high school housed at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto.

Recently, the café at the JCC began serving kosher sushi — and it’s the girls of Meira Academy who are behind it.

No, they haven’t become sushi chefs. However, they have become experts in kosher supervision and are overseeing the preparation of the sushi by a professional sushi chef. The girls’ job is to make sure the Japanese fare meets strict kashrut standards.

And how did this come about? In large part, it’s because the students at 2-year-old Meira Academy had never been able to eat lunch at the JCC’s non-kosher café.

“It really bothered me that the girls couldn’t buy lunch, that they couldn’t feel completely at home on their school’s campus,” said Rabbi Joey Felsen, executive director of the Jewish Study Network and founding president of the school.

This summer, it occurred to Felsen that having the school partner with the JCC would accomplish several things at once: bringing a kosher option to the Café on the Square, educating the girls about the laws of kashrut and serving the local Jewish community.

“This really turns Meira Academy from renters to part of the community,” noted Randi Brenowitz, the JCC’s chief human resources officer. “And what’s great for the girls, is it integrates their learning with their doing.”

Click here to read more.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

 

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