Marty Perlmutter giggles with his characteristic sheepishness when asked about an all-kosher and vegan dining hall at the College of Charleston that will bear his name.
A $1 million pledge from a group of donors will help to fund an expansion of the Sylvia Vlosky Yaschik Jewish Studies Center. The expansion will include a vegetarian dining hall with fish and vegan options to meet the needs of “ethical eaters,” as well as kosher-observant Jews, Perlmutter said.
“Eating itself can be an educational experience,” Perlmutter says. “It’s not just downing food.”
Two of Perlmutter’s children are vegetarians, and he maintains a vegetarian home. Plus, as a philosopher, he’s interested in stimulating discussions about ethical eating.
The new dining facility is scheduled to open in fall 2014, in time for a fresh crop of students. People outside the college will be welcome to dine there as well.
As Jewish Studies program director, Perlmutter has long worked to promote the Jewish community and to educate a predominantly Christian region about its contributions. He plans to step down in 2015, but his name will remain attached to the new dining hall.
“The Jewish Studies program is certainly one of the best in the country, and that is the result of the leadership of Marty Perlmutter,” said Norman Arnold, a major donor. “It was natural ... that the facility honor his unyielding dedication to the program and to fostering community.”
The dining hall will help the college recruit Jewish students who might otherwise not consider a campus without a kosher eating hub, Perlmutter said. The dining hall will be on the school’s meal plan.
The expansion, which will double the size of the Jewish Studies Center, also will include new classrooms for the School of Languages, Cultures and World Affairs; the Center for Southern Jewish Culture; and the Zucker/Goldberg Center for Holocaust Studies.
Donors include Charleston resident Anita Zucker, Norman and Gerry Sue Arnold of Columbia, Alan Kahn of Columbia, and Art and Annie Sandler of Virginia Beach.
The pledge supports a $10 million campaign launched in 2011 for the Jewish Studies Program. More than $6.5 million has been raised.
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