KOL SHOFAR KASHRUT POLICY
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In Genesis Ch.1, we learn that human beings were meant to be vegetarians, taking no animal life for food. Thus vegetarianism is the highest form of kashrut, recognizing the sanctity of all life. Our present system of kashrut, recognizing the human desire for meat still asks us to recognize that we are taking a life, by stipulating humane slaughter and forbiding hunting for sport. We also recognize the difference between animal life and other foods by consciously separating meat and dairy in the organization of our kitchens and meals. Recently, the Conservative Movement expanded the notion of kashrut by initiating the Magen Tzedek program. Founded on the principal that we are what we eat, Magen Tzedek is an ethical seal signifying that kosher food producers adhere to the highest standards in employee wages and benefits, health and safety, animal welfare, corporate transparency and environmental impact.
Our policy is aimed at inclusivity and education about the value of Kashrut for our Kol Shofar community. Please bring any questions you have to Rabbi Susan Leider. If you want to plan something, there is likely a way to make it happen!
What do we mean by “Kosher”?
1. All food must have a hechsher (a kosher symbol on the package), except for those foods that don’t require a hechsher (see list below).
2. All meals must be prepared and cooked in our kitchen, with the exception of (a) meals prepared by certified Kosher caterers, (b) baked goods which follow our kosher baking-at-home guidelines. (see below), and (c) cold salads (see below).
3. All food must be prepared using the kosher utensils belonging to the Kol Shofar kitchen, with the exception of certified kosher caterers who may use their own utensils.
4. Only kosher wine may be used for ritual purposes, however non-hechshered wine is permitted for other events. Almost all kosher wines are identified by the U in a circle symbol on the label.
5. Baked goods that are store-bought must have a hechsher.
6. For bakery baked goods or bagels, we have a list of stores and bakeries that have been approved by the rabbis. Please see our Approved Caterers, Bakeries, and Pizza page.
Kashrut is about bringing holiness into the act of eating food. Therefore, we strongly encourage the use of healthy, organic, sustainable foods that honor God’s earth and all who live on it.
Sponsoring and Shopping for an Event
At Kol Shofar, you have a number of options in providing food for your event:
1. You may hire a caterer from our approved list.
2. You may sponsor an event by selecting a menu and sending a check to the synagogue office which will arrange for the entire event. Speak to Marcy Levey-Klassen in the office to see menus and arrange sponsorship.
3. You may shop, prepare, set up and clean-up with your own “team”. If you chose this option, please follow the “Kol Shofar Kiddush Handbook,” which you can click to download. Also please ask your questions and make arrangements early in the process. This will insure a smooth and successful event.
Food Preparation in the Kol Shofar Kitchen
1. The kitchen is strictly kosher, meaning, the only foods allowed in the kitchen are:
2. Separate kitchens will be used for dairy and meat meal preparation.
3. The kitchen requires a mashgiach, or kashrut supervisor, to be on site to check ingredients brought into the kitchen and at any other point that the rabbis or mashgiach deem necessary.
4. No food cooked or prepared outside of our kitchen is allowed in our kitchen, with the exception of (a) food prepared by certified kosher caterers, (b) baked goods which follow our kosher baking-at-home guidelines (see below), and (c) cold salads (see below).
5. In order for caterers to be approved to provide food at Kol Shofar, they must (a) be kosher certified, OR (b) hire a mashgiach to supervise them, OR (c) work in our kitchen with the approval of our kashrut supervisor.
Community Use of the Kitchen
1. Community use of the kitchen is encouraged by groups (such as Thursday morning minyan or the Coalition Lunch) as long as
(a) the preparers are trained and understand the rules of our kashrut policy, or;
(b) the preparers are under the supervision of our kashrutsupervisor, Rabbi Susan Leider.
2. Community (non-catered) Kiddush lunches are under the supervision of trained volunteers who understand our kashrut standards and consult in advance with the kashrut supervisor, Rabbi Susan Leider.
3. Instead of potluck meals, people are invited to cook together in our kitchen, as a community-building opportunity. All ingredients brought into the kitchen must be checked by our kashrut supervisor.
4. Only the kosher caterers may use the meat kitchen. They bring their own equipment and utensils. Therefore, all the equipment that you see in the dairy kitchen and in the cabinets outside of that kitchen are dairy, so you needn’t worry about mixing up any of the utensils and equipment.
Food Brought into the Building (outside the kitchen)
1. Food brought into the building for communal consumption, such as snacks for Beit Binah students or for meetings, must have a hechsher, with the exception of those foods that don’t require a hechsher(see below).
2. Food brought into the building for personal consumption, such as a meal or snack brought by students in Beit Binah, Tichon, or Pre-School or by anyone coming for a class or meeting, may be non-hechshered and must be dairy or pareve (neither meat nor milk).
Kosher Baking-at-Home: Guidelines
Because of the tradition of baking for one another’s simchas and because of the limited availability of kosher baked goods, Kol Shofar congregants are welcome to prepare home baked goods to be served at Kol Shofar under the following guidelines:
Cold Salads Prepared at Home
Cold Salads such as green salads, fruit salads, and raw vegetables may be brought from home, as long as all of the ingredients are cold (with no cooked ingredients such as pasta), kosher (having a hechsher or not needing a hechsher), and dairy or pareve(depending on the meal). Please be sure to thoroughly wash all bowls, knives, and food surfaces before preparing your salad.
Canned tuna, salmon, sardines, herring, white fish, and lox must have a hechsher.
1. The kitchen will be kashered for Passover under the guidance of the rabbis, and during Passover, only kosher for Passover foods will be permitted in the kitchen. Consult the annual Passover Kashrut Guide for details about how to kasher a kitchen and what foods are permitted, but generally speaking:
Fresh kosher meat and fish, eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables may be purchased before and during Passover without a special hechsher.
2. The following foods may be purchased before the 14th of Nissan without a Passover hechsher but do require a hechsher if purchased during the eight days of Passover: Milk, butter, cottage cheese, cream cheese, non-processed cheeses, pure fruit juices, pure coffee (regular but not decaffeinated), unflavored pure tea, salt, sugar, and frozen vegetables or fruit, containing no sauce or additives.
3. All other other foods (baked products, matzah, oils, vinegar, wine, liquor, tuna, candy, in other words, all processed foods) require a hechsher whether bought before or during Passover.
ASK THE MASHGIACH
Do you have questions about Kol Shofar’s kashrut policy, or about kashrut in general?
Feel free to “Ask the Mashgiach” everything you always wanted to know about Kashrut but were afraid to ask!
Your questions will be promptly answered by our Mashgiach, Rabbi Susan Leider:
1. What hechsher symbols are acceptable? Is U in a circle ok? Can you direct me to a website that shows the acceptable symbols?
2. Some of the products that we use all the time have hechshers that aren’t on our list. Can I use them?
For more info, please see our Approved Hechsher page.
3. Can I use an aluminum foil lined baking dish and bring cake uncut? Must I buy a whole new baking dish just to be used solely for Kol Shofar?
5. Where can you buy packaged cookies with a hechsher?
A few of the brands that have hechshers are: Pepperidge Farms, Keebler, Nabisco, Brent and Sam’s, Hydrox, Newmans.
6. Can I make tabouli salad if I keep the feta domestic? I use extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and veggies.
7. Does pure cocoa powder need a hechsher?
8. I can’t find canned garbanzo beans with a hechsher. Is there a brand that is kosher?
9. Baking Challah: Must we separate the dough (and burn it in the oven) if we are baking for Kol Shofar?
*For those reading this posting who may not know what it refers to: Today “challah” refers to the bread eaten on Shabbat and holidays. Originally “challah” refered to the small piece of dough that was set aside for the kohen (priest) when making bread (Numbers 15:20). Today Jewish women bless, separate and burn a small piece of dough when making bread in remembrance of the portion given to God (through the Temple priests) in ancient times. This ritual reminds us that sustenance ultimately comes from God and transforms baking bread into a spiritual act. Here are links to a couple of webpages about the taking of challah: