Kosher cooking on campus gets a boost at Berelson
Whether cooking with friends, doing laundry in a comfortable setting or settling in to study, Bucknell students have found the Berelson Center for Jewish Life to be a welcoming home base, open to all since its establishment in 2001.

This fall, thanks to the buildout of a kosher kitchen — and significant updates to other rooms — the center is even more accommodating.

“It’s an important push of ours, to make our space and our program more welcoming to traditionally observant Jewish students,” says Rabbi Chana Leslie Glazer, who joined Bucknell as the chaplain for the Jewish community in 2016. “Of course we still have very strong offerings for our less observant students too.”

As proof of this, the renovated Berelson Center now features two kitchens: one that’s not kosher and one that’s certified kosher and Shabbat-observant. Students choose which to use. Both kitchens are well stocked and geared to make cooking easy for students.

Building out the kitchen was important, since cooking and eating are two of the most popular activities at the center.

“Last winter, there was an informal matzo ball soup club,” Glazer notes. “When they were sick, students would make soup for each other. Others bake brownies and cookies. Or they come in and make themselves breakfast in the morning. There’s always someone in the kitchen here.”

Anywhere from 15 to 30 students also attend weekly Friday-night dinners, and students have even thrown birthday dinner parties at the center.

Other recent center updates include the installation of central air conditioning, fresh paint on the walls and bright, cozy new furnishings in the Jewish program house, named for Stuart Berelson ’59. The program also dedicated a second Torah scroll over Homecoming Weekend, donated by the 1967 class of Sigma Alpha Mu.

The renovations and upgrades are “the University’s way of saying, ‘We believe in this’ , ” Glazer says. “It’s important to the Jewish community, both on and off campus, to see the University investing in the program. We want our Jewish students to know there’s a real place for them here at Bucknell.”