Written by Jonathan Pellow, Student
Allen’s Table, Kosher dinner offered every night at the Wolfond Centre for only $5, stands out as one of the most significant parts of Jewish life on campus at U of T. Formerly known as “Harvey’s Table”, Allen’s Table was renamed this past year after Allen Berg, and continues to serve the community, running every weeknight right up until the last day of the exam period every year. The meals, which are both great and very low-priced, are only the beginning; Allen’s Table is also home to debates, conversation and laughter, bringing in students from broad and diverse backgrounds. On a campus that is generally known for being studious rather than lively, Allen’s Table provides that crucial sense of community and brings together Jewish students from all years and faculties, many of whom may otherwise not have the opportunity to meet. Among the myriad of programs and events run by Hillel throughout the year, to many students it is the most important, and they find that the closest friendships that they form while in university are with other students that they see every evening over dinner. Allen’s Table also often serves as kind of base for students to meet up and head to the library, gym, or to the subway for the commute home. Without this as a resource, many students would follow the unfortunate, yet common, trend of many at U of T: the library, then to class, back to the library for more work and finally home in the evening, without much meaningful contact or interaction with other students, let alone with others from the Jewish community. Allen’s Table is the only place to get kosher meals on weekdays on campus, and draws students from Ryerson and OCAD in addition to those from U of T, helping to strengthen networks among Jewish students in the city. It is this last point, the creation of a stronger, more connected Jewish community in the area, among U of T students and others that is the most important. The relationships, friendships and sense of community and belonging that are created by Allen’s Table will remain a vital part of the Toronto Jewish community for years to come.