As Reform Jews, Congregation Shomrei Torah members hold a wide range of attitudes towards traditional Jewish practices including the laws of Kashrut—forbidden and permissible foods, slaughtering and cooking practices. As a Reform Congregation, Shomrei Torah seeks to balance personal choice with a fidelity to Jewish Tradition while creating an environment as inclusive and welcoming as possible to all people, including those with more traditional practices. Read more from Rabbi George Gittleman regarding this policy by clicking here.
Following an extensive examination by the Ritual Committee and recommendation to the Board of Directors for review and discussion, the Board approved a revision to the synagogue’s Kashrut Policy. Long-time members will note, no doubt, that in certain respects we are returning to the Policy that was in effect some time ago. In adopting the new Policy, the Board desired to embrace rules that would be inclusive, balance personal choice with fidelity to Jewish Tradition, and maximize the opportunity for those that choose to follow Kashrut, and those that do not, to feel comfortable while participating in events where food is served.
As a Reform congregation, Shomrei Torah is not required to adopt rules that would comply with the full array of the laws pertaining to Kashrut. But, as is stated in the policy, we “…find value in embracing the spirit of those laws, recognizing both the importance of food and the benefit of the heightened awareness of what we consume, as well as the value of connecting authentically to our Jewish heritage.”
With that by way of background, the policy is as follows:
At all Synagogue events, whether held on or off the Temple grounds (including, but not limited to potlucks, Onegs, B’nei Mitzvah, committee meetings, Chavurah events, or full meals), there shall always be a vegetarian option; none of the “Forbidden Foods” can be served; and meat and dairy shall not be served on the same platter (no meat lasagna) but items of meat and dairy can be served if on separate dishes and in separate areas.
Forbidden Foods are all foods, the consumption of which is forbidden by the Torah, such as meat from animals without split hooves or those that do not chew their cud (these include pork, pork products—ham, bacon, lard—bear, and rabbit) or shellfish and fish that do not have scales and fins (these include, but are not limited to, shrimp, scallops, oysters, clams, prawns, lobster, shark, monkfish, calamari, and catfish).
The Policy applies to all CST sponsored events including those events that take place away from the Temple building. It is hoped that all members will help to enhance observance of our Policy. This means, for example, food served at a member’s home at a committee meeting should be in compliance with the Policy. This will allow all of our members to feel comfortable at the “Shomrei Torah Table”.