A kosher kitchen could be up and running for students in Hull in time for the next academic year as the university’s JSoc enjoys a revival.
The city’s Hillel house closed in 2004 after years of being under-occupied. It was hoped that after the property had been sold, funds could be allocated to support kosher facilities for JSoc members on campus.
But with too few Jewish students moving to the city, the project was shelved. It is now being resurrected as Hull JSoc enjoys its best year in more than a decade.
Tania Cohen, JSoc president, said: “Two years ago the society was reformed but it was a bit touch-and-go; we had events but not too many. Last year, we tried to have more events including bagel brunches and social evenings.
“When I became president this year I wanted us to offer events with a more Jewish emphasis. It’s nice to have a society that does Jewish things because you miss that when you’re away from home.”
The best attended events are Friday-night dinners which regularly attract around a dozen students. A Tu b’Shvat seder and a special Chanucah cookery lesson also proved popular.
There are occasional trips to join up with JSocs in Leeds and Sheffield, and Rabbi Alan Garber, student chaplain for Yorkshire, drops by to offer a helping hand on the east coast.
But it is the provision of a campus-based kosher kitchen and living space that will provide the greatest boost. Representations are currently being made by UJS Hillel, Hull’s Jewish community and the JSoc to the university, with the hope that the facility could be open when students return to the campus in September.
“It will make a huge difference because we’ll have the space to sit comfortably and have full kosher facilities. It would give us somewhere to go and chill out and call our own,” said Tania.
“People concentrate on bigger JSocs like Leeds or Manchester but they do not realise there are other places like Hull with a Jewish community and Jewish students. It’s much harder work for us because we need all our members to turn up to every event. We have to prepare everything ourselves.
“UJS help with everything we need but it would be nice for our hard work to be recognised more widely. Our committee has worked so hard this year; there have been many great achievements.”
Students have an open invitation from members of the city’s Jewish community and rabbi for Shabbat and Yom Tov meals.
“It’s nice to have support. The first time I was in shul a member came up and invited me for Shabbat. It’s lovely.”