Rabbi Klein insists that he did not violate sate law. He says an Illinois state law allows people under the age of 21 to consume alcohol during religious ceremonies. Klein admitted that alcohol was served during Chabad's Shabbat dinners. “The service of alcohol at Chabad was associated with Jewish ritual and celebration,” Klein said. “It is part of the Jewish culture.” Klein repeatedly served hard liqor and wine to underage students at these dinners and on trips to Israel. Chabad is suing Northwesten University in Federal court, claiming religious discrimination after it lost official status because of the alcohol.
The Daily Northwestern reports:
Students have been served wine and hard liquor at Tannenbaum Chabad House, Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein told The Daily just one day after he announced Northwestern’s disaffiliation with the organization.
In an email sent Tuesday to NU's Jewish community, Klein said that Patricia Telles-Irvin, vice president for student affairs, cut relationships with Chabad House because the organization “had not followed university policy on alcohol consumption.”
University policy states, “Students are subject to Illinois law and University policy, which prohibit the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages by any person under the age of 21 years,” according to the 2011-2012 Student Handbook.
Klein maintains that he did not violate any state laws. He claims an Illinois state law allows people under the age of 21 to accept and consume alcohol during religious ceremonies. He told The Daily that alcohol was served during Shabbat dinners.
“The service of alcohol at Chabad was associated with Jewish ritual and celebration,” Klein said. “It is part of the Jewish culture.”
The Student Handbook, however, makes no exception for religious events.
Klein said Chabad House “respects university policy.” He said he was first notified the University would cut ties with Chabad House due to alcohol consumption on July 29. As of Aug. 1, he said alcohol had not been served at Chabad House, outside of very small amounts outside a ritual called the Kiddush ceremony.
“We’re not about alcohol,” Klein said. “We’re about God. We’re about fellowship. We’re about faith, spirituality, joy and teaching.”
Matthew Renick, a Weinberg senior who is president of the Chabad House student executive board, said Klein announced in August all campus Chabad Houses across the country are going dry at a national convention of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity in Phoenix.…
Klein took legal action against the University on Friday, following its disaffiliation of Chabad House. Acting on behalf of Chabad House and Klein, Lubavitch-Chabad of Illinois filed a discrimination complaint in federal district court against Northwestern, Telles-Irvin and University chaplain Timothy Stevens.
“The University claims that it offers a wide variety of religious and community options but it is discriminating against Chabad House and the Jewish faith,” the complaint reads.
NU officials will not comment while the matter is in litigation, said spokesman Bob Rowley.
“They’re discriminating against Chabad, which is part of the Jewish faith,” said Klein, who also declined to comment on the litigation.…
There is no obligation under Jewish law for anyone to drink alcohol at a Shabbat dinner.
Klein and Chabad are lying.
What Chabad intentionally does is offer alcohol and free (or very cheap) food to students in order to attract them.
Hillel Houses on the other hand won't serve alcohol and their meals are usually priced to reflect their actual cost.
But its the free booze that is the major attraction at most campus Chabad Houses.
Universities are now cracking down on alcohol abuse on their campuses and are much more careful about enforcing zero alcohol policies.
Will Chabad's national network of campus Chabad Houses really go dry?
My guess is that, whatever Chabad's stated policy is, many Chabad rabbis will continue serve alcohol on the sly anyway.
For many of these Chabad Houses, that booze is their only real attraction.
Related Post: Chabad Forced Off Campus Due To Underage Drinking.