Judaism affords us many opportunities to throw a small party and the trick is to do it without it costing a small fortune. So when you need a little more space for your Simcha, the first place to turn is towards the Shul secretary responsible for booking the Social Hall. You make the call, and the space is available, so the next step is to understand your Shul’s rules regarding bringing in food and using the kitchen.
As we’ve seen in every discussion here, there is always a tension between two or more issues. In this case there is the cost and convenience of bringing in your own food versus the need to insure that a reasonable level of Kashrus is maintained in the kitchen. Let me share the guidelines we’ve established on this issue as a starting point.
1. The sinks and counters in our kitchen are considered Fleishig.
2. You can only use the sinks and counters if you are bringing in food from an approved vendor under the hashgacha of an approved agency like the Vaad of Queens or the OU.
3. You can only bring in home made food if it is a private affair such as a vort, Sheva Berachos or a Shalom Zachor.
4. If home made food is brought in then ONLY the refrigerator can be used. No sink, counters or anything else.
5. No home made hot food can be kept in the kitchen.
These five rules enable us to keep the Kashrus standards of the Shul kitchen at a high level, while still allowing for the use of home food for private events in the Shul.