Walk into the Social Hall of Congregation Beth Shalom and imagine what it looked like in 1970. At that time, the current Social Hall and Kitchen made up the whole synagogue. The building was called Holmes Hall, and it was owned by the University Unitarian Church. It consisted of a small chapel, small social hall, office, 4 classrooms plus lavatories. For the previous two years, Congregation Beth Shalom had been operating out of the Blessed Sacrament School. In 1970 we moved into Holmes Hall, and 3 years later we bought it from the Unitarian Church. Following two major expansions since 1973, the original building has tripled in size. In addition to a larger space, we have incorporated Hiddur Mitzvah - the beautification of the Mitzvah - Jewish Art, into our facility. We have indeed a beautiful space for worship, celebrations, and learning.
You can also learn more about our Building and Grounds Committee here.
Kitchen and Kashrut observance
Preparing meals with respect for Jewish Law
As a Conservative Jewish Congregation we are strongly committed to following Jewish law in all areas of our private and communal lives. Beth Shalom proudly maintains a kosher dairy kitchen. Beth Shalom also upholds Sabbath and Festival Halachah in regards to the preparation of food. Below are helpful guidelines for caterers and families preparing festive meals at the synagogue which respect and honor Conservative Jewish standards of practice.
Preparing Meals and Shabbat
The building is closed on Fridays at 2:00 pm, so all cooking should be completed by that time. No cooking can be done on Shabbat. Heating of food and liquids below boiling is permitted. Ovens can be heated up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. During Shabbat, only a custodian or a non-Jewish catering employee is permitted to operate anything requiring electricity or gas. This includes adjusting ovens and running the dishwasher. These tasks must be part of their regular job and be arranged beforehand. Shabbat instructions for the CBS custodian must be submitted to the Program Director a minimum of two weeks before the event.
The kitchen telephone should not be used on Shabbat except for emergencies.
Deliveries and Removals
All food, flowers and other supplies must be delivered no later than 2:00 p.m. on Friday. No deliveries of any kind can occur on Shabbat. Nothing may be removed from the synagogue until after the end of Shabbat (after nightfall on Saturday night), including flowers, decorations and food. Food and other items should be picked up sometime between Sunday morning and Monday at 5:00 p.m. following your event. Remember that all food left in the kitchen must be labeled. If it is not labeled it might be eaten before you have a chance to pick it up on Sunday or Monday!
Kashrut Protocol at Beth Shalom
The kitchen at Beth Shalom is a kosher dairy kitchen. Only Beth Shalom members and approved caterers may use the kitchen. For detailed information about cooking at CBS and to book the kitchen, contact the Lifecycle Coordinator at (206) 524-0075 or use our contact form.
Our Kitchen Committee will be happy to assist you with any and all of your needs.
Food brought into the Synagogue
This list is provided as a convenience. To obtain the most up-to-date list or to check on specific items you wish to bring into the kitchen, contact the Program Director, Carol Benedick.
- Food must be either prepared in the Beth Shalom kitchen or packaged with an approved heksher. Do not bring in food that has been prepared at home.
- All food brought into the kitchen must be in new, unopened containers. (eg. Spices, flour, sugar, grains)
- All uncut fresh fruits and vegetables are kosher.
- All unprocessed grains and cereals are kosher.
- Bulk foods that are kosher may be used at Beth Shalom if a copy of the label (labels should be available at place of purchase) is provided to the mashgiach.
- All milk, dairy and butter products must have an approved heksher.
- All cheese must have an approved heksher. Any Tillamook cheeses with the exception of any of their vintage cheeses that are produced with animal rennet (white vintage cheddars) are allowed.
- You may not bring any meat or fowl into the building.
- Eggs from kosher fowl are kosher and parve. However, because of the prohibition against eating blood, an egg that contains a speck of blood may not be used. Eggs must be cracked one at a time and inspected for blood spots before being used.
- All fish that have both fins and scales are kosher and parve.
- All wines and grape juice must have a heksher. White wine and white grape juice is preferred.
- All liquor must have reliable certification. Check this frequently updated list from the CRC
- Processed food must have a heksher. Either dairy or parve foods may be used in our kitchen.
- Items from local bakeries must be kosher. Baked goods must be either in the original unopened packaging or delivered directly from the bakery. Contact the office for a current list of acceptable bakeries at (206) 524-0075 or email to contact form
- Please label all food stored in the kitchen, refrigerator and freezer with your name and date of the event.
- Nuts of any kind are not permitted at Beth Shalom due to severe allergies among some of our members.
Utensils and Equipment
- No dishes, cutlery, pans or equipment may be brought into the kitchen unless the item is new and unused.
- No dishes, cutlery, pans or equipment may be removed from the kitchen or social hall.
- You must transfer leftovers into new, unused containers for removal from the kitchen.
- It is your responsibility to dispose of all leftovers. There are many food banks where leftover food is appreciated.
Dietary Policies at Beth Shalom
As part of our desire to maintain high levels of kashrut in our kitchen, keep our food costs affordable, and in response to some past confusion and problems with regards to some cheeses, the Religious Practices Committee (RPC) arrived at a new cheese policy to implement for all cheese used in the Beth Shalom facility.
All cheese used in Beth Shalom must have an approved heksher - though we do not accept the heksher of plain "K". Also allowed are any Tillamook cheeses with the exception of their white vintage cheddars, which are produced with animal rennet and consequently not allowed.
Beth Shalom strives to be a kosher, nut-free facility. No food containing any peanuts or nuts will be served in the Beth Shalom facility. We are making this change in line with our value of pikuach nefesh, saving a life, because many children and adults at Beth Shalom have life threatening allergies to peanuts and nuts.
While we have taken these measures to minimize risk, we cannot guarantee that the building is fully peanut and nut-free. Individuals with peanut and nut allergies should check packaging to ensure the product is safe for consumption.
Items may be served that are made in a facility that also processed peanuts or nuts.
Seed products are still permitted.
Please help us by ensuring any food you bring into the building meets these standards. Thank you for partnering with us in support of our food policies.
Check out our Links page for more information on Kosher Food.