Kashrut Policy (for Beth El events)

Congregation Beth El - Revised Kashrut Policy (June 2014)

The document sets out guidelines for the preparations and consumption of food on the Beth El campus.  The standards are designed to allow congregants to prepare or provide food prepared off-site for use at specific activities/gatherings while main­taining the highest standards of kashrut within our kitchen and dining facilities.

To achieve these two goals simultaneously, the building and its grounds have been divided into two zones.  The "Red" Zone ("High Scrutiny" area) consists of the kitchen, adjacent storage facilities and Social Hall.  It will be subject to constant monitoring by trained inspectors and food brought into this area will be required to meet stringent standards of supervision.

The "Green" Zone ("Low Scrutiny" area) is essentially all the places in which food is served and/or consumed outside the Red Zone.  Foods brought into the Green Zone are still required to conform to Jewish dietary law in both their preparation and consumption, but the standards of kashrut applied in this zone will make it feasible for members to prepare dishes in their homes or to purchase certain types of prepared food from unsupervised providers.

 

Basic guidelines

 

Red Zone (High Scrutiny)

Green Zone (Low Scrutiny)

Foods bearing a hechsher (evidence of kashrut supervision):

*Packaged goods w/ hechsher

*Foods prepared by kashrut-supervised outside providers (with rabbi's certification of provider)

* Foods prepared on site by a trained and/or supervised provider

*Kosher wine & spirits with or without a “mevushal” designation

 

All foods that are labeled as kosher are allowed in the Green Zone so long as they are dairy or pareve (i.e., they contain no meat or poultry).

Foods allowed without hechsher (supervision)

* Uncooked fruits, vegetables (including dried fruits)

* roasted nuts

*kosher fish

*dairy products (except those containing gelatin)

*eggs

* unmixed baking ingredients (eg., salt, sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda)

* unmixed spices (not spice blends)

 

All foods allowed in red zone plus:

* Commercially prepared foods that are “kosher by ingredient” (i.e., they contain no shellfish, tallow/lard, meat or meat by-products).

Note: This means no beef/chicken stock or non-kosher gelatin.

* Foods prepared by local providers certified by the rabbi, in accordance with agreed upon terms.

* Food prepared in home kitchens (eg for community pot-luck meals) according to the home-cooking guidelines below.

 

Note:  This means that foods cannot be partially prepared in private homes and then transported to the synagogue for heating or further preparation in the kitchen.   Only persons who have been certified by the rabbi in kashrut maintenance may use the kitchen without supervision.

All food brought onto the premises during Passover require the rabbi's explicit approval

 

Home Cooking Guidelines

1.  All implements used in the preparation of food (including pots, pans, knives, mixing or measuring implements, cutting boards, etc.) must be either single-use (disposable) or dedicated specifically for synagogue use.  This applies regardless of the standards of kashrut that normally prevail in the household.

2.  All ingredients used must either bear a hechsher or be raw (eg., fruit, vegetables, kosher fish or unmixed baking ingredients).

3.  All ingredients must be dairy or pareve - no meat or meat products allowed.

4.  If foods are prepared in an oven, the container in which the food is baked/roasted should be double-wrapped in foil before being placed in the oven.  Where this is not feasible (eg., cakes, breads, cookies, broiled foods), the oven should be self-cleaned (where possible), or else turned to the highest setting and left to run empty for at least one hour, prior to being used to cook the item(s) that are being brought to Beth El. 

5. All foods should be clearly labeled with name of food and whether they contain dairy products, nuts, fish or eggs.

6) Kosher fish varieties include salmon, tuna, trout, mullet, tilapia, flounder, cod and haddock. Note: catfish, stingray, shark, swordfish (at least at present) and swai are NOT kosher.  Anyone wishing to serve a variety of fish not listed here must first consult the rabbi.

 

Strategy for the Implementation and Enforcement of Kashrut Standards

1.  New kashrut policy will be distributed to all members of the Beth El community in writing and posted in multiple locations around the kitchen and in the social hall.

2.  A corps of kashrut monitors will be trained in the basics of kashrut supervision (what products can be used, what products are forbidden, what constitutes a permitted mixture, what products/circumstances require special attention, etc.) as well as on the layout of the kitchen.

3.  All pots, pans, implements, refrigerators and storage areas in the Beth El kitchen will be clearly labeled as being for meat or dairy use.  Periodic sweeps will be done to remove any unmarked pans or utensils for re-kashering/disposal.

4.  Items used for the preparation or consumption of dairy meals will be strictly segregated from those used for meat.  Meat utensils will be kept in a different area of the kitchen in locked storage that is accessible using a *different* key from that which accesses dairy equipment/inventory.

5.  All use of the Beth El kitchen by persons who are not certified monitors (eg JFEC staff) will require a monitor's supervision.

6.  All questions that arise with respect to the use of the kitchen, including reporting possible mistakes, must be referred to the rabbi before the food item and/or utensils/surfaces in question are used or served.