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In Melbourne Shabbat begins Fri 5 May 2017 05:10 PM and ends Sat 29 Apr 2017 06:16 PM
י"ט אב ה' אלפים תש"ע
Most of my Sundays are occupied with a single project – to ferry various children between birthday parties.
Kids parties pose an almost unresolvable conundrum regarding Kashrus even if they go to an Orthodox Jewish school.
Here are some of the possible problems:
· Does the host family keep a kosher home? If they don’t then any food prepared is suspect, even if they claim that it was all kosher.
· Are they Shomrei Shabbos? If not, then from a kashrus perspective their reliability is on par with a non-Jew.
· If they are frum, what type of Kashrus do they keep? Some families are not particular about Cholov Yisroel or Pas Yisroel.
With the increase in class sizes and intakes of children from many different locales and backgrounds, we don’t know much about other parents.
Given that we dealing with young kids (my current ‘birthday partiers’ are 12, 9 and 7) who are hard pressed to resist temptation even when told not to eat at a party when everyone else is hoeing in, it is extremely preferable that the cuisine at all parties be acceptably Kosher, thereby avoiding possibly any unnecessary embarassment for all concerned.
One school attempted to provide a solution to parents by suggesting that all meat products should be purchased from a specific Kosher butcher shop and all baked goods from a nominated kosher bakery.
The challenge with this approach is that even if the meat is purchased kosher, once it leaves the butcher shop in the control of someone who is not religious, the meat is prohibited based on the laws of Bosor Shenisalem – ‘meat that is concealed’. (As we’ve discussed in another article, it is impossible to visually distinguish between Kosher and non-Kosher meat. Therefore, the rule – see Yoreh Deah 118) is that meat must be under the control of a Shomer Shabbos or sealed appropriately to prevent tampering.)
Let’s say that the meat arrived okay, but how would it be cooked? The kitchen and/or utensils would need to be Kashered and/or Toiveled.
With respect to even making something as simple as ‘fairy bread’ there are challenges – the margarine/butter, the 100’s & 1000’s both need to be Kosher – assuming that kosher bread has been purchased.
To make life easier for all concerned, enabling all children to be included so they can enjoy themselves, here are some simple suggestions:
1) Use only packaged products that come with acceptable Kosher certification.
2) Use only disposable plates, cups and cutlery.
3) No food should be cooked at home.
4) Start with new unopened products (so avoid the half finished packet of corn chips that have been hiding at the back of the pantry). This applies even to drinks.
5) Cold food
a. Place food in bowls and keep the original packaging handy so that other parents can be assured of the Kashrus (if they enquire).
b. If serving raw fruit or vegetables, use only varieties that are not subject to infestation (see our KA guide for details on this).
6) Hot food
a. Purchase Hot Food from a Kosher caterer or takeaway and must remain in original seals.
b. If food needs to be heated, ask the retailer/caterer to wrap up the food in such a way that it can be heated even when going into an oven of undefined Kosher status. Usually they will double wrap in foil for convection ovens or seal with plastic wrap for microwaves.
c. Hot meals should be placed on the table – use a disposable tablecloth – in the original containers.
7) If crockery is to be used, then only have fully catered functions where the caterer is supplying everything (including a mashgiach).
8) If serving dairy, then no meat meals should be arranged even if as a ‘second course’.
9) Where possible, dairy should be Cholov Yisroel and baked goods should be Pas Yisroel to cater for the ‘highest common denomination’.
If parents out there have some other thoughts and ideas please contact us.
We welcome your feedback.
To assist we are aiming to put together a Party Guide in the near future.
General Manager, Kosher Australia
Direct tel: 03 8317 2502
Office tel: 03 8317 2500 or 1300-Kosher
office fax: 03 9527 5665