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Shomrei Torah WCC – Potluck Kashrut Policy 2019/5779

While kashrut is central to our identity as Conservative Jews and a core practice at Shomrei Torah; an equally important value is building community, members making food for one another helps to strengthen the feeling of community and brings down costs which encourages participation. To that end in addition to our standard Kashrut Policy, we have produced this Potluck Kashrut Policy.

Home cooked food may be brought into the synagogue under the following circumstances:

  • Home cooked food must not contain any inherently non-kosher products like meat or shellfish.
  • No food can be purchased or cooked on Shabbat.
  • Home cooked food must be dairy or pareve (neither meat nor dairy).
  • All of these rules apply when preparing baked goods at home for use in the synagogue.
  • All home cooked food must be prepared in a clean oven, in new disposable aluminum foil pans, covered, without other foodstuff in the oven at the same time. This assumes NO stovetop preparations, which may result in the unwitting contact between kosher and non-kosher food related preparations.
  • All home cooked food should be labeled with the name of the family who prepared it, the ingredients and any common allergens that it contains, e.g. nuts, milk, gluten (wheat), or eggs. Items should be marked to indicate if the dish is dairy, pareve, vegetarian, vegan or contains fish.
  • Home cooked food must be brought into the Synagogue in the same ovenware, dish or container in which it was cooked or prepared.
  • Home cooked food brought into the Synagogue, cannot be served with utensils brought from home, unless those utensils are brand new (never been used) or disposable.
  • Ideally, home cooked food will not come into contact with the synagogue kitchen. If heating is required, we ideally want to use a chafing dish with a Sterno in the social hall; if the oven is to be used, then the item must be double wrapped in foil.

These guidelines can also be used for preparing a meal for a shiva house, a friend who keeps kosher or generally how to prepare a “kosher meal” in a non-kosher kitchen.

Potluck food must be served on paper plates using disposable, preferably biodegradable, eating utensils (ideally without Styrofoam).

Food should be placed on serving tables, ideally each table for one category of food: hechshered items, dairy, pareve, vegetarian, vegan, containing fish, etc.

Sponsors of a potluck Shabbat or Festival meal must provide kosher wine, grape juice and challah for Kiddush and Motzi.

When cleaning up everything should be thrown out or taken home, nothing should go in the kitchen.

Potlucks cannot be held on Passover.

Kashrut Standards for Food Cooked in a Private Home:

If you keep a kosher kitchen: You can bring dairy or pareve food cooked in your home that adheres to our kashrut standards using hechshered ingredients where required. If your home is kosher and you keep “kosher by ingredient” (i.e. you go by the list of ingredients on the packaging and do not always look for a hechsher), or vegan (no animal products) or vegetarian, use only hechshered ingredients when preparing food for community use and prepare and bring them in new recyclable/disposable or glass containers. You are responsible for determining that your kitchen is kosher. Feel free to approach the Rabbi with any questions.

If you do not yet keep a kosher kitchen: You can still bring food cooked or baked in your kitchen by using kosher ingredients and following these guidelines:

  • Workspace: Clean thoroughly a separate space in your kitchen.
  • Pots and Pans: Use new pots and pans. Foil pans are inexpensive and useful for this purpose. If you have glass pots and pans, they can be used for a kosher event after being thoroughly cleaned. For baking sheets, one can double-wrap them in foil, and then use them.
  • Utensils and Equipment: For kitchen utensils (cutting boards, knives, etc.) and kitchen equipment (mixers, blenders, etc.) used to prepare cold foods (fruits, vegetables, etc.), thoroughly clean those utensils before using them. For kitchen utensils for preparing hot foods, use only new utensils.
    • For example, a raw carrot can be peeled with any vegetable peeler; however, a steamed, hot carrot can only be cut with a new knife.
    • One might consider investing in a small set of kitchen tools for kosher cooking, such as: a sauce pan, skillet, slotted spoon, stirring spoon, spatula, and a Pyrex oven-to-table pan. A set like this would probably cost under $50.
    • One can also make metal utensils kosher. Contact the Rabbi for details.
  • Using a Microwave: If you want to use a microwave, you can quickly make it kosher by thoroughly cleaning the inside, and then bringing a glass of water to boil in it.
  • Using an Oven: To prepare your oven, run the cleaning cycle. If the oven doesn’t have a cleaning cycle, clean it thoroughly and run it at its highest temperature for 15 minutes before cooking.
  • Dishwashers: To use your dishwasher for kosher utensils, run a rinse cycle before the cleaning cycle with the kosher utensils.
  • Cleaning Up: Use new sponges or scrubbers. For towels, use laundered towels.
  • Transporting Food: Foods should be brought to shul in glass or new recyclable/ disposable containers. Food can be brought to the synagogue on Holidays for such events. Ideally, everything for Shabbat comes into the synagogue before the office closes on Friday, but if not possible can be brought with you when you come.
  • But wait there is more! Cooking a dish is only one way to be part of a potluck meal. Potluck meals also need other items, such as:
    • paper goods,
    • beverages,
    • disposable utensils, and
    • Store-bought hechshered products.

For kashering one’s home kitchen – MAZAL TOV!! – Please contact the Rabbi


Approved by the Rabbi, the Ritual Committee and the Board of Trustees – Aug. 2019

Sat, February 24 2024 15 Adar I 5784