September 22, 2023
September 22, 2023

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Last week the unthinkable happened. A local yeshiva sent parents the following email: “Unfortunately, there was a delivery delay and we did not receive the ravioli for today’s menu. We will be substituting with penne marinara instead. We apologize for any inconvenience.” (True story.)

That’s right, a local yeshiva served its students penne instead of ravioli. It’s hard to even type those words.

How could this happen? Who is the fettuccinenius who made this decision? Why weren’t parents consulted beforehand? Why doesn’t the school have a hot-lunch committee, a pasta subcommittee and an emergency entree-replacement hotline? What are the pastabilities of this happening again?

Let me make a few points. First, as everyone knows, parents shell out tons of tuition dollars for yeshiva so that their children develop a love of yiddishkeit, get a great education and, perhaps most critically, dine on superior pasta. I’m guessing that if parents knew penne was being served at yeshiva then—marinara or no marinara—they would send their kids to public school.

Second, if a school is willing to so callously substitute penne in place of ravioli, what other monumental changes are they capable of making? Teaching scientology instead of science? Mahjong instead of math? Telekinesis instead of Tanach? It’s a very slippery slope, slippery like wet spaghetti.

Third, the symbolism of this sad swap sends a tragic message. Ravioli are delicately stuffed with a special surprise, a delicious delight in every bite filled with wonderment and hope. Penne are boring, hollow and soulless tubes of tohu-vavohu nothingness. Is that how the school views are precious little angels?

Finally, how do you explain to your overly indulged, overly protected kids that this minor entree mix-up does not mean they should stopping trusting the world around them? For many overly indulging, overly protective parents, that will be difficult to convey with sincerity.

Bottom line: I am not “antipasta,” and serving penne instead of ravioli is not a crime, but it might be actionable as a common-law tort (ellini). Next time, I suggest substituting in a kugel instead. In fact, make it the wonderfully Zionistic Kugel Yerushalmi. Now who could have a problem with that?

Jon Kranz

Englewood, NJ

Editor’s Note: LOL

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