This morning, I walked into my office and found a bag of Baked Lays potato chips on my desk. That might sound like a kind gesture of nourishment, or a subtle hint to switch to low fat, except that they did not have a hekhsher (mark of kosher certification) so I knew exactly what it meant.
In the past few years since I have been responsible for Kashrut at the congregation, I have regularly found strange food offerings on my desk – the odd box of cereal, a single piece of candy, or a random bag of potato chips.
We are blessed to be part of a community that takes our adherence to Kashrut seriously.
It’s not about being the “kosher police”, as we called them in college, but rather about having a stake in the integrity of our community’s standards. We hold Kashrut as a value for Chizuk Amuno and want our congregants, students, and families to be able to come together at our institution and share a meal.
This means that occasionally someone will come across an item with questionable Kashrut status and we encourage them bring it to our attention. What happens next is that we remove the item, figure out how it came into our building, research its kashrut status, and the make a determination if it is acceptable or not.
Being kosher means that we provide a service to the community and a welcoming home for our families and visitors.
P.S. In this case, there was brand confusion (regular Lays chips are kosher certified, Baked Lays are not) and the chips were donated to Operation Welcome Home Maryland to be placed in goodie bags for servicemen returning from overseas.