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Our Chaplains and Chaplaincy couples are involved in all aspects of the lives of university students. There is no question that they haven't been asked! Check them out and find the answers to your questions here. Please feel free to email us any question or situation that you require an answer to.

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Buying Kosher Food For Friend Who Does Not Keep Kosher

Q:If I invite a Jew to formal hall who does not keep kosher (and I'm paying for the meal), do I have to order a kosher meal for him or her? The reason I'm asking is that it's three times as expensive for me and potentially annoying to them (because the non-kosher food is better, or they feel patronized, or they have more of a hassle with the wrapping and plastic cutlery etc).

A:Thanks for your question which I enjoyed looking into on your behalf. I understand the dilemma that you are in regarding food in the college and keeping kosher.

In this context, if the guest is not Jewish, I don't believe that you have an obligation to provide kosher food to them and you can let them choose what they want to eat. However, if you are hosting a Jewish person, I believe that you have an obligation to provide kosher food for them. If however you are just eating together and sharing a table etc but not your formal guest, I think that they would be choosing/paying for their own meal and it is not your decision.

Mistakenly Washed Up With a Treif Sponge

Q: I bought a plastic cutting board today and a friend of mine washed it with boiling water and a treif sponge. Is there even such a thing as a treif sponge given that it involves soap?

A: Ideally sponges should be kept kosher and separate for milk and meat.  In this case, ex post facto, it does not render the board trief.

Koshering An Oven


 Q: Tomorrow night I'll again be cooking in a friend's kitchen and a few kashrut questions have come up. They have been using their oven for vegetarian non-kosher dishes for the last few months. I'd like to bake something kosher in there. Is there a quick and easy way of kashering their oven? If not, would I just have to wrap my pot in one or two aluminum foils and then be able to put it into the non-kosher oven?

A:The oven can usually be kashered by cleaning it thoroughly and then turning the oven to maximum temperature for about an hour. You can wrap a pot entirely in foil and use the non-kosher over. 


Glass Utensils

Q. If something is made out of glass it can't be made treif, right?

A. Yes that's correct.

There is a dispute about glass, the Shulchan Aruch and many Sephardi Jews rule that glass does not absorb flavours, and thus cannot be treif. Ashkenazi authorities maintain that it is possible for glass to absorb flavours. However, the glass of today that goes in the oven is usually filled with lots of metal components to make it heat safe and doesn't melt. Thus, today's glass dishes/pots are typically not really glass! You could use drinking glasses that are clean for either milky or meaty.

Buying Cooked Beetroot From The Supermarket

Q: Tesco (and I assume other supermarkets too) sell red beetroot that is already cooked. It's just beetroot cooked in water (no vinegar) and then peeled. Would that be kosher or do I have to buy raw beetroot and cook and peel it myself?

A: It would not be kosher unless it is listed in the KLBD kosher food guide.

Don't Have Any Shabbat Candles

Q. What happens if I realise just before Shabbat that I don't have any Shabbat candles?

A. You should ask someone who is lighting to join in with them and give them a contribution towards their candles. If that is not possible, before Shabbat,  turn on an electric light; if you can see the filament (i.e. a clear, old-fashioned bulb) say a bracha, otherwise not..

Non Kosher Microwave

Q. Can I use a microwave that is in a friend’s dorm who doesn't keep kosher?

A. No, unless you make it kosher by cleaning the microwave and then boiling a cup of water inside for 10 mins.  You will then need to wipe the microwave out and cover the revolving tray.

Food Cooked On Shabbat

Q. My friends have invited me for a Shabbat dinner and they will be cooking some of the food on Shabbat.  Is the food kosher?

A. The food is kosher but is forbidden to be eaten or to have any benefit from it since it was cooked on Shabbat. Either ask your friends to make everything before Shabbat or prepare your own food.


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