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ANSCHE CHESED KASHRUT POLICY
ANSCHE CHESED KASHRUT POLICY,
Ansche Chesed’s Kashrut policy applies to all individuals and groups in the synagogue, including all synagogue employees. The policy applies everywhere in the synagogue’s premises, including the Sukkot. It applies both to food to be shared communally, and to food individuals will eat themselves.
It does not apply to the long-term tenants in the spaces they rent on an annual basis, or those who use those programs.
WHEN QUESTIONS ARISE
As local Halakhic authority [mara d’atra], Ansche Chesed’s rabbi rules on Kashrut questions for our facility.
Should there be a time when Ansche Chesed does not have a rabbi who serves as mara d’atra, the Board of Trustees should appoint a Va’ad HaKashrut of knowledgeable members to fill that role.
ANY MEAT MUST BE PREPARED UNDER RABBINIC SUPERVISION
Any meat meal in AC must be prepared in its entirety (including bread, side dishes, dessert and condiments) by a commercial establishment under rabbinic supervision. Prior approval of the caterer by Ansche Chesed and on-site supervision by a mashgiach is required. (We have a list of approved caterers we are glad to provide.) Members can make arrangements to use the kitchen in Hirsch Hall to cook meat themselves, for which they must provide rabbinic supervision, either through AC’s own rabbi or another supervisor acceptable to him/her. In no circumstances may anyone bring meat cooked at home into the synagogue.
KOSHER HOMES MAY PROVIDE COOKED DAIRY AND PAREVE FOOD
In homes that keep kosher according to Ansche Chesed’s definition (see below), one may cook dairy or pareve food and bring it to Ansche Chesed for private or group consumption.
NON-KOSHER HOMES MAY PROVIDE UNCOOKED FOOD OR PURCHASE KOSHER FOOD
In homes which do not keep kosher according to Ansche Chesed’s definition (see below), one may prepare cut raw fruits & vegetables, or salads, including tuna salad, with all kosher ingredients, for private or group consumption at Ansche Chesed. Those who live in non-kosher homes may also purchase and bring packaged certified kosher foods.
(Note that canned tuna requires Kashrut certification, since certain brands cook their tuna in chicken broth. Non-certified brands might also not be “dolphin-safe.’ Such brands by definition include a non-kosher animal in their product.)
The rules articulated above apply to private homes, and are designed to enhance all community members’ sense of belonging, and their ability to contribute to communal meals. They do not apply to restaurants, delis and caterers.
Since no non-kosher restaurant or caterer would meet Ansche Chesed’s standards for Kashrut, it is impermissible to bring in any cooked food from a non-kosher restaurant or caterer – for example, cheese pizza from non-kosher establishments, and fish or vegetarian food cooked at an otherwise non-kosher restaurant. This applies also to non-certified bagels and breads purchased from restaurants that also sell non-kosher meat or shell fish.
In summary: Commercially prepared cooked food may be brought into Ansche Chesed only if it is prepared under rabbinic supervision.
Ideally, breads and other baked goods should be purchased from a bakery under rabbinic supervision. (In our day, these are abundant. Most Hot & Crusty and Zaro’s locations are clear about which of their products are under supervision. Fairway’s baked goods are under supervision. H & H bagels are under supervision, and are sold in many local stores.)
Also, one may bring un-certified baked goods into Ansche Chesed if the bakery sells or uses no meat or shell fish products; if it uses no pre-mixed dough, icings or other products; and if it uses only kosher products (butter, vegetable oils) to grease its pans. Note that Halakha frowns on, but does not forbid, the use of dairy breads, since bread is so often eaten with meat. If you purchase commercially baked bread without Kashrut certification, please ascertain whether it is pareve or dairy. Obviously, all Ansche Chesed communal meals will be pareve or dairy, but participants may wish to know, as they may have eaten meat earlier.
WHEN IS KASHRUT CERTIFICATION REQUIRED?
Many different foods brought to Ansche Chesed to be shared for communal meals require a recognized Kashrut symbol, such as the O-U, Star-K, Kaf-K, Triangle-K or any number of others. (A non-exhaustive list of common certification symbols can be found at www.kashrut.com/agencies/.) A simple “K” usually is not sufficient. (However for some companies, like Kellogg’s cereals, a “K” is backed up by a recognized supervisor.) Similarly many types of ingredients that go into home-cooked food brought from kosher kitchens to Ansche Chesed require certification.
In general, processed and cooked foods, those with additives and those whose ingredients are unclear need certification. Raw and single ingredients foods generally do not.
The following foods require no certification:
What about certified Vegan processed foods, such as those bearing the “V” symbol of Vegan Action, or Vegan.org? While Kashrut laws are not the same as Vegan strictures, and therefore it is unwise to confuse these eating systems; in practice, these products are probably acceptable to every Ansche Chesed member, and may be brought to share with others.
Fresh or smoked fish of a kosher species (fins and scales, no shell fish) may be purchased at any market. If the fish must be sliced, please ensure that the knife used is wiped clean first. Many stores have kosher tables, which are preferred. A list of kosher species can be found on the internet www.kashrut.com/articles/fish/.
Raw fish, like Sashimi (i.e. fish only) is acceptable from a kosher species. When accompanied by cooked rice, it should not be brought into the synagogue without certification.
Conservative practice permits the eating of swordfish and sturgeon; however, because many Conservative kosher-keeping people do not follow this ruling, if you contribute these fish to any communal meal, please place a sign on the dish, so people can choose accordingly.
WINE & CHEESE
In keeping with common Conservative practice, all domestic cheeses and all wines are permitted for consumption at Ansche Chesed.
One should not use wine without rabbinic supervision for rituals and blessings.
Non-certified domestic cheeses may be permitted on two grounds: 1. the USDA may be relied upon when it certifies that the milk in a cheese comes only from kosher animals; and 2. coagulants used in cheese production are themselves kosher ingredients. Some authorities in previous eras argued that even animal-derived coagulants should be considered kosher. But in our era, almost all industrial cheese production in America uses microbial coagulants, and thus should be considered kosher by all.
Please note that some in the Ansche Chesed community do not eat non-certified cheese. If you are making a dairy dish with cheese and you have the choice to use a brand with a hekhsher, it would satisfy a larger number of people and therefore is preferable. The popular brands Cabot and Sorrento are certified kosher. Here, too, those cooking with non-certified cheeses might put a sign on the dish to allow others to choose accordingly.
FOOD MUST BE NOT PURCHASED OR PREPARED IN VIOLATION OF SHABBAT & HOLIDAYS
Food brought into Ansche Chesed may not be cooked on Shabbat, and may not have been purchased on Shabbat or the Yom Tov days of major holidays.
It is permissible in Jewish law to cook on Yom Tov days – the first two and final days of Pesach or Sukkot, as well as Rosh HaShanna or Shavuot, when they do not fall on Shabbat. Thus, one may cook – though not shop – on a Yom Tov morning and bring the food to share that day.
This is to be stressed in particular with respect to food brought to eat in the Sukkot. It is not permissible to purchase food on the first two or final two days of major holidays or on Shabbat and bring it to Ansche Chesed.
On Passover, no food cooked in any private homes may be brought in to Ansche Chesed. Only sealed, packaged food and drink, bearing certification from a rabbinical supervisor may be brought anywhere in the building. This applies to our staff and annual tenants as well.
DEFINITION OF A KOSHER HOME
Different households will practice kashrut as they determine. For purposes of Ansche Chesed’s communal Kashrut, the following practices constitute having a Kosher home.
Exclusively kosher foods are brought into the home:
All meat and poultry is purchased from a kosher butcher or is prepackaged and has Rabbinic certification.
Only kosher fish – that is, those with fins and scales – are used. Shell fish and eels are not used. A list of kosher and non-kosher species can be found on the internet www.kashrut.com/articles/fish/. Conservative practice permits the eating of swordfish and sturgeon, although many people do not follow this ruling. (Some Orthodox authorities also eat swordfish.)
All packaged, canned, or frozen products are certified kosher, or are checked to be sure they contain no non-kosher ingredients. (As noted above, it is preferable not to rely on a kosher-by-ingredient approach, but such a home may still be regarded as kosher.)
Commercially cooked food must come from establishments that are under Rabbinic supervision.
Commercially baked goods must come from establishments described.
All wines and cheeses are permitted.
Eggs are checked for blood spots and spotted eggs are discarded. (Checking is especially necessary for “free-range” and organic eggs. For regular “factory eggs” this practice is not necessary, but a blessing alights on the scrupulous). In all events, if blood is found, the eggs must be discarded.)
Meat and dairy dishes are completely separated in the kitchen:
Separate dishes, pots, pans, utensils and flatware are used for meat and dairy foods. Utensils that become non-kosher are properly koshered. (Kashering processes should be discussed with Rabbi Kalmanofsky.)
These dishes, pots, utensils, etc. are washed separately. Separate sponges, cloths, towels are used. Meat and dairy dishes are not washed together in the dishwasher.
Products (including those labeled "non-dairy") are checked for milk derivatives, such as casein, sodium caseinate and lactose, if they are to be used with meat.