Ham, Holidays And Other Puzzles As Medical College Shifts Its Religious Affiliation

Ann McClure's picture

New York Medical College was planning to change its affiliation to Jewish from Catholic when an employee approached Rabbi Moshe D. Krupka in the cafeteria, voice raised and finger wagging, and demanded, “When you take over, will I be able to eat my ham sandwich here?”

A nervous hush fell over the room on that day two years ago. Some students and workers had protested the impending takeover by Touro College, while others were just nervous, unsure what to expect. The college officials giving Rabbi Krupka his first tour were mortified by the confrontation, but curious about his answer.

The rabbi, a senior vice president at Touro, cut the tension with a most rabbinic reply: “It depends.”

“On what?” the man asked.

“On whether you like ham,” the rabbi answered.

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