by the Forward

Zalman Tiechtel

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Making Jewish College Life In Kansas Accessible, Rewarding And Tasty!

Our two years of producing a college guide has given us tremendous insight into the innovations and personalities affecting Jewish life at the colleges around the country. Yes, we’ve seen innovations at places better known for their Jewish life, like Brown and Harvard or even Carnegie Mellon with its Jewish Futurist Club.. But we’ve also discovered people making takhles changes that make Jewish life at colleges in the most unlikely of places more accessible and rewarding. And that’s exactly what Zalman Tiechtel, 37, has done for the Jayhawks attending the University of Kansas.

Though they also throw a mean Seder, Tiechtel and his wife Nechama have made Jewish life accessible to those who observe the dietary restrictions 365 days a year, even in the college town of Lawrence. After 13 years at KU, the Tiechtels established a kosher meals program in a dining hall in February. They have been working for years to expand kosher options, including operating a concession stand at Allen Fieldhouse, the home of the Jayhawks’ five-time national champion men’s basketball team. They’ve also worked to comfort the community amidst tragedy: After three people in Lawrence were killed in a mass shooting, the same day as a Las Vegas gunman killed 58, the Tiechtels set up a system of “good cards” — instructing recipients to do a good deed within 10 minutes and then pass it on to someone else.

“The rabbi is always there whenever you need him,” student Abby Chargo told the student newspaper. “I’ll always call him for advice.”

It’s second nature to the rabbi: Many of his brothers are also Chabad emissaries.

Working from the Rohr Chabad Center, the Tiechtels have done their bit to make KU home to their growing band of Jewhawks.

— Aiden Pink

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