I recently had the privilege of accompanying our Year 7 students on our Term 3 Interfaith Program. In Auburn, our Emanuel students joined their Christian and Muslim peers from Auburn Girls and Granville Boys High Schools.
As quickly as we settled in the site’s organiser of this event happily announced to all of us present that “there was a special surprise for all our students today”, Krispy Kreme donuts of all delectable varieties. Then, with the oozing Krispy Kremes but moments from their lips, a voice from the front of the room rang out, soaring over the students’ heads and greeting a surprised Rabbi Siegel with the words:
“Rabbi, can the Emanuel students eat these Krispy Kreme donuts? Are they Kosher?”
A hush descended upon all, as a box with its precious cargo of multi-colored sprinkled sweets was hurriedly, yet delicately, placed before me, with the beseeching eyes of students and teachers beckoning for a favorable ruling.
My mind went back to earlier that morning, when I was assured that all students would be bringing their own lunch and snacks and fruit would be available for all to share. But, fruit was nowhere to be found, nor would it likely curry much favour considering the sugary savories now before us.
Then, a moment of hope. I pointed out that the box had a symbol of Hallal certification. Immediately, the same voice, carrying the prayers of our students in tow, sought confirmation: “So, you are saying it’sKosher”?! And, in an instant the Krispy Kreme Krisis was upon us. “No, actually it would need a Kashrut certification, like the Hallal certification, for it to be Kosher for us”.
And, then, a most wondrous dialogue ensued. Supportive voices among our Muslim and Christian counterparts shared their understanding of our sensibilities in light of their own observances and religious practices. Not the “Rabbi”, but our Emanuel students explained Kashrut considerations for the Jewish community with one student adding that while the ingredients listed on the Krispy Kreme box might be Kosher, the utensils in which the product was made should be kept in mind, as well.
Our students felt they were honouring our Jewish tradition and received recognition and support in doing so when it was announced that our non-Jewish peers, in partnership with us, would put aside the Krispy Kremes in respect of our decision. I shared, as well, the Kashrut policy of Emanuel, when we are on excursion and the challenges we sometimes face when off campus and away from certified Kosher food.
The Krispy Kreme website says: “Krispy Kreme Australia respects the dietary customs of our valued customers and has achieved Halal Certification across all of our stores for our doughnuts”. Our next interfaith meeting will be at Emanuel and while I note that we might want to consider if food injurious to our health can be deemed ‘Kosher’, I suggested our students might want to explore if some Sydney-based Krispy Kreme outlets are under, or could be persuaded to come under, Kashrut supervision.
I am proud of our students who wisely and engagingly presented their perspectives and understandings of Judaism with the students of Auburn and Granville. In good humour, several of our students gave voice to the Krispy Kreme Konundrum with the following poem.
Krispy Kreme Rebellion
I am so small but mean so much
Full of cream to fill your heart
Chocolate nuts, sprinkles and more
But of these we have been deprived, though they are kosher and from the store
Even though we love to be a Jew
Sometimes the rules must go askew
Others missed out on this glorious treat
It doesn’t even have any meat!
The generosity of others, though was so kind
Alas, this is not to be
This is the rebellion of the Krispy Kreme