For food being prepared for consumption at the synagogue:
- Certain foods which Jews have traditionally avoided – pork and shellfish (lobster, crab, oysters, clams, mussels, scallops, etc.) – may not be served on our property; however, we do not require a kosher hechsher on food products served on our property.
- We ask that you refrain from serving a combination of meat and dairy in the same dish –neither poultry nor meat should be mixed with any milk product (fish is not considered meat).
- Meat and dairy may be present at the same meal in separate platters. Individuals will choose if they wish to partake of both.
- We will always serve or have available a hearty vegetarian or vegan option.
- During Passover, no bread or other leaven is to be eaten on campus.
When preparing food at home for synagogue use, we do not require that a member’s kitchen be kosher, nor do we require that the food brought to the synagogue be on a kosher dish. We also do not require that any food served on our campus – including meat – be certified kosher in any way.
In keeping with the principles of tikun olam (repairing the world) and g’milut chasadim (acts of loving kindness), and being shomrei adamah (guardians of the earth), it is our preference that the food presented on our campus be produced as ethically and sustainably as possible.
At this time, the Ritual Committee has not formulated a proposed policy for programs at local restaurants. However, if we do have a program away from our property where a catered meal is offered, we proposed adhering to the above policy to the best of our ability.
Congregation Or Chadash brings together a variety of Jewish experiences and traditions. Some of us have a familiarity with kashrut, while many have had no experience with Jewish dietary laws. As a Reform community we do not regulate Jewish ritual observance in your homes. Nevertheless, we feel that establishing kosher guidelines for the synagogue will be another way of informing our Jewish values and will help us all to make better choices each day.
Jewish family life and ritual is rooted in food – each holiday has its special dish, and nearly all our celebrations take place gathered around a dining table. The customs of kashrut have been a crucial part of Jewish practice for millennia. For some communities, the importance of kashrut is that it is commanded by God. For others, it is a way to create a cohesive community. Our food teaches us about our history and the moral choices we make every day. The blessings we recite remind us that food is a gift that we should never take for granted. In the Torah we are taught that the dietary laws create a food discipline that makes us kadosh – holy.
- Ethical discipline of avoiding certain foods or limiting one’s appetite because of the growing scarcity of food or water in parts of the world;
- Avoidance of certain foods which Jews have traditionally avoided, i.e. pork and shellfish (lobster, crab, oysters, clams, mussels, scallops, etc.), and therefore a reminder of the struggle of past generations to remain Jews;
- (4)Adopting some form of vegetarianism so as to avoid the necessity of taking a life. (This is in consonance with the principle of tza-ar ba-alei chayim – prevention of pain or cruelty to animals.) This also raises our awareness to become better stewards of our environment and the world.
 Genesis 1:28; Exodus 23:5, 12; Baba Metzia 31a; Proverbs 12:10
Adopted by the Board of Directors October 2013