Report: SOY Spends $6,400 a Year on Cholent
According to former Student Organization of Yeshiva (SOY) leaders, SOY spends upwards of $6,400 on cholent each year. Current SOY president Dovid Simpser confirmed the council is on track to spend a similar sum on cholent during the current academic year.
Cholent is a mainstay of many yeshiva-oriented programs, like Thursday night mishmars and Friday night tisches, where as many as 200 students may show up to get a bowl of the traditional Jewish stew.
According to last year’s SOY president Shua Brick, SOY spends approximately $800 per Thursday night mishmar, which precedes an In-Shabbos, and has also paid a similar sum once per year in the past two years to serve cholent at an In-Shabbos kiddush on Shabbat morning.
"SOY is here to enhance the student-yeshiva experience on campus,” remarked Simpser. “That means working hard to implement appealing and exciting programming, as well as giving the students the food they want."
Under the current Wilf campus student council budget framework, SOY receives 28% of uptown students’ student activity funds, which totaled just over $47,000 in the 2016-2017 academic year. This means that SOY cholent spending translates to 13.5% of its annual budget.
This percentage does not include any funds which SOY may contribute to Cholentfest, an annual student cholent cooking competition sponsored by several student councils, and subsidies for In-Shabbatot, during which cholent is provided by the Office of Student Life.
Cholent, and SOY’s spending on it, became a major issue in the SOY presidential election in the Spring of 2016, when students upset with what they called the “Gush Establishment” complained SOY officials were planning to serve less cholent at events in order to pay for other SOY programming. Frustration at the time led some students to rally around the slogan “Make SOY Great Again” and consider any cuts to spending on cholent an attack on the yeshiva elements of YU.
Students like Yeshiva College Junior and Mazer Yeshiva Program student Daniel Schwarz seem to agree. “Not only is YU's great, but the Thursday night ‘cholent chill’ gives a really warm feeling to the YU Yeshiva experience,” said Schwarz.
“I’m so glad that they’re willing to spend it on us,” echoed Junior Shimon Cohen, continuing, “because it really brightens up my week, and gives me that homey yeshiva feel that can sometimes be lacking in YU.”
Other students found the sum spent on cholent to be high. Sophomore Benjamin Freund, also in MYP, commented, “spending that much money on cholent is a bit excessive for the type of social hangout that the Thursday night mishmar program has become.”
Cholent appears to be a key item in the council budget, and will appear at several large events throughout the academic year.
Photo Credit: SOY Facebook Page