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Testudo’s Kosher Korner food stand will open for business on Nov. 17 at the Maryland-Georgetown men’s basketball game.
Testudo’s Kosher Korner food stand will open for business on Nov. 17 at the Maryland-Georgetown men’s basketball game.

Starting this week, University of Maryland basketball fans can watch some hoops while chowing down on delicious kosher eats.

Testudo’s Kosher Kitchen, so named for the university’s distinctive diamondback terrapin mascot, made its official debut at the Nov. 17 Maryland vs. Georgetown University men’s basketball game, and the menu, said Rabbi Eli Backman, director of UMD Chabad, is sure to satisfy.


Spectators can choose from 4-ounce turkey, pastrami or corned beef sandwiches carved to order — served with a kosher pickle and deli mustard, of course — at $9 a pop. Vegan falafel will be available in a basket — the gluten-free option — or in a pita, also for $9. Kosher hot dogs, popcorn, bottled water and soda will also be available for purchase.

No formal campaign has been rolled out to promote the stand, but mouths are already watering.

“With social media, as soon as [we said something], it’s been shared over and over,” said Backman. “Alumni have been talking about it, there’s been a lot of excitement.”

UMD Chabad and the university’s Dining Services began collaborating last spring, according to Bart Hipple, director of communications for Dining Services. The two organizations carefully plotted out how the kosher food stand in the upper level of the Xfinity Center concourse would be run to meet both university and halachic standards.

All food stands in the basketball arena are run by special interest groups, such as campus clubs and nonprofit organizations, explained Hipple. Provided the groups have a food sanitation manager and enough volunteers, they can run the stand and receive a percentage of verifiable sales. The same will be true for Chabad and its volunteers.

Unlike other stands, Testudo’s Kosher Korner has been specially kashered and will only be operated under Chabad supervision. It will not be closed on Shabbat. Kosher food is not available in Byrd Stadium, the university’s football arena, as most collegiate games are played on Saturdays.

This turtle shell kosher symbol adorns Testudo’s Kosher Korner stand.
This turtle shell kosher symbol adorns Testudo’s Kosher Korner stand.

Both Backman and Hipple are optimistic about the stand’s odds of succeeding, particularly in light of the sizable Jewish community on campus. According to statistics from Hillel International, 21 percent of UMD undergraduates identify as Jews.

“We do have a large number of [students] who are either Jewish or like to keep kosher,” said Hipple. “In addition to which, the food is just good. When those things come together there’s a reasonable chance this will succeed.”

The university, said Backman, has long been accommodating of observant Jewish students, and he hopes that the wider community will show the university its appreciation by supporting the stand.

“We’re very appreciative of the university for letting us have this,” said Backman. “We hope the students and community will come out and enjoy it. We’re really excited about Jewish pride finding itself in places people didn’t expect to find it.”

mapter@midatlanticmedia.com

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