Kosher Halal Co-op (KHC) (previously Kosher Co-op), located in a corner of Talcott Hall, exists as a small community (membership is currently capped at 32) within the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association (OSCA). The co-op serves the needs of students who keep Jewish and Muslim dietary law, as well as contributing generally to Jewish and Muslim life on campus. Students wishing to join Kosher Halal for kosher or halal reasons can jump the OSCA waitlist. However, membership is open to all students, regardless of religious background, who are willing to respect the extra restrictions due to the dietary laws.
As a part of its program, the Co-op hosts a traditional weekly Shabbat dinner every Friday at 7 pm, to which the entire campus is invited (attendance typically runs between 50 and 100). Services are held before Shabbat dinner at 5:30 pm although one does not need to attend one to attend the other.Traditional observance of Shabbat is mantained in the co-op. During this time, people are not allowed to turn on or off electrical appliances, write, carry objects in or out of the building, exchange money, or clean inside the co-op. In addition, many Jewish and Muslim holidays are marked by some observance in the co-op (since many cultural and religious traditions are deeply tied to food, the connection should be obvious). For instance, early each fall, a sukkah is constructed on the lawn next to the co-op in observance of the holiday Sukkot. The co-op provides a break-fast for Muslim students during each day of Ramadan and celebrates the end of the holiday with a festive meal (Eid al-Fitr). In the spring, the holiday of Pesach (Passover) is observed according to traditional Ashkenazi Jewish law, and the co-op prepares three full Seder meals. Many of the co-op activities are co-sponsored by Oberlin Hillel and/or by the Muslim Students Association (MSA). The Co-op is advised by Rabbi Shimon Brand.
Because KHC is such a small, close-knit community, participation in consensus-based decision-making on the part of members is often very direct. One result of this intensely democratic participation is that the co-op has gained a reputation for slowing down the OSCA decision-making process by raising objections to OSCA board proposals that hadn't been brought up in other co-ops. Some have taken issue with KHC due to the extreme control its advisor, Rabbi Brand, exercises over many of its decisions. On some issues, it is really not consensus. Another argument advanced is that KHC may not necessarily belong in OSCA as neither does much for the other and KHC pre-dates the founding of OSCA.
KHC is also well known around campus for its traditionally excellent culinary offerings, which include kosher meat three evenings a week (and always a vegetarian alternative).