Bagels and lox, noodle kugel on special occasions, and of course latkes for Hanukkah. As a Jewish child growing up, just the mention of these delicious foods can make anyone say, "Oy vey!"

Unfortunately, we can't all be Jewish children forever. There comes an age where it is unacceptable to search for Hanukkah gifts before they are wrapped, to refuse to eat the karpas at Passover, and to count the tiles on the ceilings at services instead of paying attention.

There comes a time where Jewish children have to leave their home and venture off into the unknown of college. Luckily, there is a special Jewish haven on many college campuses across the country: Hillel.

Hillel is a place that Jewish college students can go to services, participate in activities, and can rediscover their favorite food traditions as they schmooze and reconnect to their Jewish community. 

As a Jewish foodie, the Friday night Shabbat dinners at Syracuse are a real life fantasy. 

Brian Small, executive director of Hillel at Syracuse, said ".... [we] really wanted to create this space where it would be like a family meal... and we kind of slowly became the thing you do before the thing you do on a Friday night..."

Small is definitely right. There are many reasons Hillel Shabbat dinners are a great place for the Jewish foodie to start their Friday nights.

1. The dinners are accommodating to all dietary needs.

meat, sauce, vegetable, tomato, chicken, pork, pepper
Amy Schwartz

How about eggplant with marina and stuffed with tofu "ricotta"? It is vegan and gluten free, yet full of flavor. My roommate, who whose main food group is cheese, wouldn't believe that the stuffing was not actually cheese and that it tasted good.

2. There is always a delicious dessert option.

pastry, muffin, cheese
Amy Schwartz

The desserts at Hillel are definitely treats that aren't available in the dining hall. Classics such as black and white cookies, apple pie or sweet breads are often in attendance.

3. The matzoh ball soup is warm and cozy every week.

soup, vegetable, dumpling, meat, broth
Amy Schwartz

The matzoh ball soup station is always a hit. Hillel goers are fortunate enough to have this soup option every week. While your Bubbe may only make her secret recipe on the holidays, you can get a warm and cozy bowlful every Friday night.

4. They have healthy options.

vegetable, courgette, pepper, corn, legume, cucumber
Amy Schwartz

Just as Hillel offers accommodations for dietary restrictions, they also offer fresh and healthy options for the conscious eater. Their salad is always crisp and they offer a variety of salad dressings as well protein options, such as chicken.

5. They take meal swipes.

bread, brioche, bun, dough, yeast, wheat
Amy Schwartz

Hillel offers a payment option that swipes your SU ID and takes a meal swipe from your meal plan. You can get the challah and little wine shots pictured below, plus more incredible food, all for the price of one meal in the dining hall!

tea, coffee
Amy Schwartz

Brian Small says that students "...Come for the family dinner once a week and catch up with [their] Jewish friends and be a part of our family and then go off and do [their] thing. The food plays a big part of that, and we are totally cool with that."

Come on down to Hillel on Walnut in Syracuse and see for yourself. It's worth the schlep.