Chronicle poll results: Kosher food at senior facilities
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Chronicle poll results: Kosher food at senior facilities

We asked our readers if Jewish senior living facilities should serve kosher food exclusively. Here's what they said.

Last week, the Chronicle asked its readers in an electronic poll the following question: “Should Jewish senior care facilities serve Jewish food exclusively?” Of the 1,137 people who responded, 73% said yes; 22% said no; and 5% said they weren’t sure or “it depends.” Comments were submitted by 313 people. A few follow.

A Jewish agency is defined by setting the high standards of inclusion of all members of the community. When Weinberg Terrace was envisioned, kashrut was a given. It should remain so in JAA facilities where meals are mandated to be served to residents. This change will affect many who observe laws of kashrut who took comfort in knowing there was a kosher assisted living option. We’ve already lost kosher skilled nursing. Is this really the best we can do as a community?

The choice will exclude some Jews no matter what. The choice to be not exclusively kosher will exclude some segments of the Orthodox community. The choice to only offer kosher food, regardless of cost, will exclude Jews of lower financial means.

Should have separate kitchen so kosher is prepared on site.

If non-Jewish persons are living there I believe it should be optional.

Not all Jewish seniors keep kosher. They should be given a choice.

Jewish institutions must be welcoming to all Jews. If kosher food is not available in senior care facilities, or our seniors who keep kosher are made to feel “othered” by receiving something of lesser quality, then we are failing to be an inclusive space for all of our community members.

People choose to come to Jewish residential facilities for many reasons, including quality of care and proximity to their families. As long as the facilities offer a kosher option for those who want it, offering kosher-style meals, which help to keep costs down, seems like a reasonable and necessary compromise toward survival and sustainability.

Local hospitals have been cutting back on their kosher food offerings for cost reasons. Jewish organizations should be pushing back against that, rather than endorsing those moves by emulating them.

Why is it even a question? It’s a Jewish facility, why cut corners? Yes, costs for everything are going up more and more, but should the elderly be a casualty to spreadsheets?

Unfortunately, the cost of maintaining a fully kosher facility has become prohibitive. The priority should be on care and comfort with kosher options if desired by individual residents.

If the senior care facility advertises itself as Jewish, it should fit their Jewish needs. It’s that simple, and shouldn’t even be a question. Anyone who specifically doesn’t want kosher food can go to any other facility.

Freshly made kosher food served on real plates should definitely be the primary option at Jewish senior care facilities

We need to let our Jewish seniors know they matter and are not second-class citizens in a Jewish home.

There is a fundamental Jewish concept that all Jews are responsible for one another. Even if the number of seniors who would require kosher food are not a majority, there surely needs to be one location in this city for those Jews to go to when they have a need. And the city is full of beautiful non-kosher alternatives that all others can choose. This feels like an imperative.

Kosher food is important for the soul’s health. The health of one’s soul and body are dependent on one another. PJC

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