Updated November 2016
Why Do We Need a Kashrut Policy?
As a Conservative synagogue, it is important that we support the movement’s value of keeping kosher. The Preamble to the Constitution of the United Synagogue of America (1913) states that the organization’s purpose is: “the advancement of the cause of Judaism in America and the maintenance of Jewish tradition in its historical continuity, to assert and establish loyalty to the Torah and its historical exposition, and to further the observance of the Sabbath and the dietary laws.” The “Standards for Synagogue Practice” of the United Synagogue affirm, “Recognizing kashrut as another basic tenet of Judaism, congregations shall take all steps necessary to ensure proper observance of kashrut at all functions on the premises of the synagogue and at functions away from the synagogue which are held under their auspices.”
Why is Kashrut such an important part of our Jewish lives? USCJ has this to say:
“Kashrut, or “keeping kosher,” originates in the Torah and is further developed in later rabbinic literature. We keep kosher because it is God’s mandate. Yet, it goes beyond blind acceptance of some ancient laws. It gives us an opportunity to bring holiness into our lives several times a day through the simple act of eating and connects us with Jews all over the world. Ethical concerns for all of God’s creatures are central to keeping kosher. The system of kashrut also lends spiritual order to the chaos of the world by establishing categories of permitted and forbidden foods.” You can read more about keeping kosher on the USCJ website.
As a congregation, we have a responsibility to ensure the kashrut of foods we serve. We are a k’hillah k’doshah, a sacred community, and as such we must be welcoming and inclusive of members and guests who observe the dietary laws. Food that does not meet Flatbush Jewish Center’s kashrut standards may not be brought into the kitchen.
General Kitchen Rules
- Only members of the Ritual Committee and Kiddush Committee will have access to the kitchen. These committees will oversee and ensure that the standards of kashrut that have been established are followed.
- Dairy and meat utensils shall be kept absolutely separate. Only one side of the kitchen may be in use at a time.
- All caterers and meal preparers must have their foods and cooking ingredients checked by the Ritual Committee, Kiddush Committee or their designee to ensure their permissibility. All food preparation must be done on site or in a certified kosher kitchen as approved by the above named committees. No cooked foods may be brought in from outside unless it is prepared in an approved certified kosher kitchen.
- Baked goods may only be supplied by a bakery approved by Beth Din, hekshered commercial products.
- No deliveries or cooking may take place on Shabbat.
- Food brought in for personal use by an individual may not be brought into the FJC kitchen nor may any non disposable utensil from the kitchen be used with it.
No food prepared at home may be brought into the synagogue’s kitchen.
Standards for Raw Ingredients and Processed Foods
- The following ingredients are kosher without certification: Fresh fruits (checked for bugs), fresh vegetables (checked for bugs), eggs (checked for blood spots), milk, salt, sugar, flour, pure spices, unflavored tea, unflavored coffee, beer, raw grains beans and rice, raw nuts or nut flour, and pure olive oil.
- All meat products must come from a kosher butcher under rabbinic supervision, as approved by the Ritual and/or Kiddush committee.
- Fresh fish (kosher species having fins and scales, excluding swordfish and sturgeon) does not require rabbinic supervision, but must be rinsed thoroughly before being cooked.
- All prepared or packaged food (including canned, frozen, baked, or foods otherwise changed from their natural state) as well as dairy products (cheeses, yogurts, etc.) must be marked with an approved heksher.
- Only wines, grape juices, and grape products with a kashrut certification may be used for Kiddush, though fresh grapes do not require certification. Only kosher wines may be enjoyed during meals for FJC sponsored events.
Food Preparation Policy for Shabbat Cold Foods
- Cold foods may be cut and prepared on Shabbat.
- Hot foods may not be cooked from a raw state on Shabbat. All cooking must be done ahead of time, and the foods may be reheated using the following guidelines:
- The ovens may not be turned on or adjusted by a Jew
- The food that is being reheated must be mostly dry not liquid. That means that soups, sauces, or other similar dishes may not be heated on Shabbat. Soup may be served if it is put in a crockpot to cook before Shabbat and is left on overnight.
Food Preparation Policy for Holidays
Food preparation for Holidays is the same as for Shabbat with the following exception. On holidays food may be prepared from raw as long as the following policies are observed.
- The ovens may not be turned by a Jew.
- The food that is cooked on the Holiday must be for that day only. It is not permissible to cook food on a Holiday for use on another day.
Food Brought for Personal Use
There is an expectation at Flatbush Jewish Center that all food brought in for personal use (ie snacks for congregants or children) in our space is kosher. We are aware that there may be instances where food designated as diary is brought in for personal consumption on a day where the kiddush meal being served is meat. We ask that all efforts be made to keep that food separate at the table to prevent accidental mixing. Lastly, we ask that no meat be brought into our space for personal consumption.
Space Rental with Kitchen Use
In the event that FJC space is rented and it is necessary to utilize the kitchen a member of the Kiddush or Ritual committee must be present at the event to ensure that the above referenced standards are upheld. An additional fee may be included in the space rental contract to account for the additional center support.
Flatbush Jewish Center accepts all kosher food with approved hekshers except for the “floating K”.
The following are symbols commonly found and accepted: