Kashrut Policy for Potlucks

Beth David, as a Conservative synagogue, supports kashrut as a basic tenet of Judaism. Furthermore, Beth David is a k’hillah k’doshah, a sacred community, and so must have one clear consistent practice. We trust that all of our members and friends, are willing to observe these policies, no matter what their personal level of observance may be, so that any member of the Jewish community can feel comfortable eating in our building.

Therefore, any Beth David event, wherever it takes place, must be kosher. Food that does not meet Beth David’s kashrut standards may not be brought into the building. In order to have potluck meals at the synagogue, we ask our members to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Food brought in for a potluck must be kosher (dairy or vegetarian only). It may not be brought into the Beth David kitchen, nor may any utensil from the kitchen be used with it.
  • Home-prepared food must be made in disposable pans. All mixes or ingredients must carry a hashgahah (kosher certification). This will be explained below. No utensils, other than disposables, may be brought from home.
  • Fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, salt, sugar, spices, tea, coffee, soft drinks, and milk do not require kashrut certification. Fruits and vegetables should be inspected for bugs and eggs should be checked for blood spots.
  • Fresh fish (kosher species having fins and scales) do not require rabbinic supervision, but must be rinsed thoroughly before being cooked.
  • Because processed foods must both contain kosher ingredients and be prepared in a kosher way, all prepared or packaged food (including canned, frozen, baked, or foods otherwise changed from their natural state) as well as dairy products (yogurts, etc.) must bear kashrut certification from a recognized authority, such as the O-U or O-K. A list of symbols used by such authorities is attached to this policy. There are hundreds of supervising agencies. If there is doubt as to a particular symbol or kashrut authority, the rabbis will give final approval.
  • The “K” symbol is not trademarked and is not a symbol for a specific certification authority. Therefore, it is not sufficient to certify that the ingredients and manner of preparation are kosher. The Tablet K heksher is also not recognized by the Conservative movement as reliable and may not be used. (see below for the visual symbol)
  • When wine is served, it is our policy always to have grape juice available for those who can’t drink alcohol.
  • Although it is impossible to keep track of all possible food allergies, it is an increasingly common courtesy to label foods containing nuts, since some people with that allergy have severe, life-threatening reactions.

KOSHER SYMBOLS

The following are symbols commonly found on products in the Bay area.

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