What can I bring to the Shabbat morning potluck even if I don’t keep Kosher?
Those who come to the Shabbat lunches after morning services know what a special time this is. We have a chance to relax and chat with visitors, old and new friends, or anyone else we want to get to know better. The most important thing you can bring is yourself; by just being there you contribute to the building of our community.
Because we want to honor those who keep Kosher, our kitchen is Kosher for dairy. All of the equipment and serving utensils are kosher. Some of you, like me, do not keep Kosher but want to bring food for the potlucks, so what can we bring? To answer this we have created some guidelines (http://bethamisr.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Food-and-Potluck-Guidelines.pdf).
Of course, the simplest it just to bring something labeled as Kosher, but I like to make salads. Here are some things I have found to make this easy.
Salads made of just fresh fruit and/or vegetables are always welcome. Even though I do not keep strict Kosher, because I want to honor the guidelines as best I can, I bought at the dollar store a cutting board and knife that I use only for preparing Shabbat salads. I also use my glass bowls and a special spoon that are never used for anything with meat.
In the booklet prepared by Mieneke Drake (http://bethamisr.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Shabbat-Pot-Luck-Recipe-book.doc) and on the Internet you can find a number of recipes for fruits and vegetables with dressings of olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and/or fresh herbs. You can also use your own imagination.
Because we need to keep the kitchen Kosher, we cannot wash in the kitchen serving bowls, trays, or other items brought from homes. We do our best to wipe these off and put them aside for you to take home and wash.
You can bring whole fruits and vegetables. Each week there are a few people who volunteer to be in the kitchen on Saturday morning to get the food ready for the lunch. They will add what you bring to the lunch and also welcome your help in getting it ready to serve.
If you wish to bring food from an outside source it needs to be in it’s unopened (sealed) original container. The best is to bring something marked Kosher. Rabbi also accepts baked dessert goods made by COSTCO and Safeway in their original sealed containers. Items that can be kept for a few or more weeks may not be served that day but will be kept for future lunches. Please note, because there is no way of knowing what is in “natural” ingredients or flavors, we cannot accept items with these unless they are certified as Kosher.
We have been blessed with the willingness of Ahuva Simon-Sa’ar and, more recently, Nancy Tisman to volunteer to come into the synagogue each week to cook and prepare soups and other special treats for the lunches. Donations you make to the synagogue, especially those you designate for the Shabbat lunches, provide the funds for the ingredients.