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I was eating in the kosher dining hall (because it often has better food than the goy hall) and, after I finished drinking from the water bottle I had brought with me, a Jew walked up to me and told me that I wasn't allowed to have my water bottle out in there and instead I had to drink water from their pitcher.

I tried to Google an explanation, but as far as I can tell, water is kosher. Is this some sort of Passover thing or have I been being anti-Semitic since I have been going there?

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya Jay. – David Kenner Apr 3 '18 at 4:26
  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya and thanks for your question. During Passover, some are extremely strict about not using any food equipment that came into contact with food during the year. Nothing personal, the same would probably have been asked of anyone else in that hall. – mbloch Apr 3 '18 at 4:32
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    "have I been being anti-Semitic since I have been going there?" - I don't know why you have asked this. How does bringing in water make you anti Semitic? – DanF Apr 3 '18 at 14:27
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    @DanF: IME, the term "anti-Semitic" has been abused so often and by so many (e.g. anyone disagreeing with Israeli policy is currently "anti-Semitic") that there's an element of Stockholm Syndrome going on; that is, even those with absolutely no reason whatsoever to think that they are raging racists are starting to think that they might be deemed "anti-Semitic", whenever they disagreed with a Jewish person about something... and are now just cutting out the middle-man and self-shaming. Blame the current hyper-reflective state of Western culture ;) – Lightness Races with Monica Apr 3 '18 at 16:09
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit Didn't know this symptom exists among Jews. There's actually a "halachic" prohibition against self-shaming. Even w/o such a prohibition, I don't get why someone needs to do that. No one should need to fear someone else's "problem". – DanF Apr 3 '18 at 16:52
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My best guess is that it's the policy of the kosher dining hall to not allow outside food or drink to cut down on the amount of non-kosher food which comes in. To my knowledge, there's nothing wrong with water or water bottles (even when in the possession of a non-Jew) and that the person who told you that it was not permitted to bring the water bottle in was enforcing a no outside food or drink policy of the dining hall.

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    Around my community, some people used water bottles to smuggle clear alcohol drinks (like vodka or tequila) inside places where those aren't allowed. This policy of "no water bottles" may exist to avoid that. – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Apr 3 '18 at 20:00
  • @T.Sar The same thing happens where I live. Thanks for bringing this issue up. – ezra Apr 3 '18 at 20:54
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Without being able to ask the staff who sets the standards for your "kosher cafeteria", we can only speculate if it was truly not allowed to bring a water bottle in, or why.

However, this is my best guess based on what you described and based on my experience with kosher supervisors in the past.

If someone is allowed to bring in foreign food into the kosher cafe (even if it is kosher), then eventually the situation will become lax and people will start bringing just about anything to lunch. So in order to make sure no one brings anything unkosher, there is a total ban on bringing any food or drink from outside the kosher kitchen into the kosher mess hall.

Yes, water is kosher.

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Water is kosher period. Prior answers are correct and especially during Passover. It depends on your strictness and the strictness of the kosher eatery to retain its kosher certification. I also agree that the issue has nothing to do with racism, anti-Semitism, etc.; this is purely an instance of the establishment attempting to uphold its kosher certificate.

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