Question:

Hello, My step daughter, who’s mother is Jewish and Father non-Jewish is coming to stay over Christmas which she usually does. This past year she has decided to live her life more strictly according to Jewish rules/traditions and will be with us over Shabbat. I am trying to inform myself to be able to make her welcome during her stay (I am non-Jewish). It is mainly the hot meal eaten at lunch on the Saturday I am wondering about, and if this is some thing we could cook together on the Friday before sundown, and I could then use a slow cooker/hot plate over night or set a timer. General advise would also be gratefully received. I’d be very upset if these rules might prevent her staying with us so often, she almost didn’t come for these reasons. Many thanks.

Answer:

My apologies that it took some time for me to get back to you.

It is very nice that you want to make her feel welcome even though you will have to do some different things in order to accommodate her. In order to make the food “kosher”, so that it meets Jewish dietary rules, there are a number of things that you have to know. It may be inconvenient for you, but it is definitely doable.  

The first thing is that not only does the actual food have to be kosher, but the utensils that the food is used with also have to be “kosher”. Meaning that the pots, plates and cutlery that are used, have to be kosher and not those used for non kosher food. Therefore it would be a good idea, to buy a pot or two; some knives and some cutlery, and they can be kept in a box or closet to be used when your step daughter comes. This would be a onetime investment, that shouldn’t be too costly. If you don’t want to buy plates, and cutlery, she can also use plastic of paper ware, for eating. However the pots and knives should be bought new. 

The ingredients that are used for the foods should be certified kosher. there are a number of kosher supervising agencies. There are a number of supervising agencies for example the London Bais Din, or Kedassia that I heard are alright. 

She will need some grape juice, enough for three cups worth.

When the cooking is done, she should help out in the cooking by either turning on the fire or placing the food on the fire.

After these preparations are done, it should be nice experience, and I hope you enjoy her company and her stay at your house.

One other point, not associated with cooking perse. There will be numerous things that your step daughter will not be able to do on the Shabbat, such as turning lights on or off, smoking, talking on the telephone, etc. Many of the things that she cannot do, should also not be done by you for her, such as turning the lights on and off for her. If you want to do it for yourself, that is fine, but not just for her.

I hope that you, your husband and your stepdaughter have a pleasant visit.

 

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