Snack Attack: Non-Kosher Snacks in the Vending Machines


Rebecca Silber ’23

In November, rumors about the vending machines selling non-kosher snacks circulated throughout Ramaz. Any student who stopped by the vending machines to confirm the truth behind this rumor could see that the bright red bags of Nacho Cheese Doritos were, in fact, being sold. Rabbi Dov explains that the issue was first brought to his attention by president of the G.O, Yona Weinstock. 

“Yona cares deeply about the religious identity of the school, and as president, he brought the issue to my attention immediately after spotting the non-kosher snacks,” said the rabbi. According to Dov, Ramaz is not directly in charge of running the vending machines. Instead, Ramaz uses a vendor that takes care of which snacks are ordered, when they are replaced, etc. Larry Berman, who manages IT, maintenance, food services, nurses, and buildings, is also in charge of overseeing the vendors, and informs them that only kosher snacks can be ordered for the school. While the vendors do the best that they can to accommodate our needs, they obviously do not completely understand the idea of kashrut, and are therefore not completely aware of our sensitivity to it. Dov states that this is not the first time in which the vendors accidentally ordered non-kosher snacks to the school. When the incident first occurred, Dov explains that he “was very upset,” and “sent an email to the vendor explaining that if this happens again, the school is going to switch vendors.” 

Unfortunately, both this year and last year, the vendor made that mistake yet again. Around March of last year, three non-kosher snacks (Sour Patch Kids, Cheddar Ruffles, and Combos) were being sold in the vending machines. Not even one year after those snacks were removed, another non-kosher snack, Nacho Cheese Doritos, made its way into the vending machines. The commonality between the two instances is that both occurred during Covid. Dov supposes that the pandemic may have contributed a great deal to this scandal. 

“During the coronavirus pandemic, certain snacks became more or less popular, and so the vendor wanted to make changes based on which snacks would sell.” In addition, “many jobs were lost during the pandemic, so it is possible that old employees were fired and new ones were hired, which may have led to confusion in ordering the correct snacks.”  Either way, the school responded to the issue immediately after Yona informed the administration, with Dov sending the vendor an email that very day. Now, the school has somebody in charge of looking at which specific snacks are ordered before putting them into the vending machine. Because of this, Dov is doubtful that the school will run into the issue of non-kosher snacks being found in the vending machines ever again.