Friday, May 4, 2012

Camping with Observant Jewish Scouts (Part 2: Food)

I came across a very helpful document that talks about some of the ways we as scouters can accommodate the beliefs of Observant Jewish Scouts. It has many tips on how to handle food prep for Observant Jews in your troop.

It is recommended that Friday night dinner be a cold meal or precooked and reheated at the camp site before sundown. Food preparation at the campsite Friday night, Saturday lunch and Se'udah Shelishit may include salads (fruit and/or vegetables), relishes, sandwiches, etc. All foods must be kosher and have the [Kosher Symbol] or other appropriate symbols of kashrut. If there are only a few observant Jewish girls in the troop they may choose to supply their own food, which must be prepared and cooked separately. No other changes would be necessary.

Some of the notes from this document on Preparing the Kitchen:

For kashering the kitchen, heavy duty aluminum foil is needed to cover the counters and line the refrigerator shelves. To kasher the stove you must thoroughly wash out the oven and burners. Turn the burners on to the highest heat and leave them on until red hot. Dish basins should be used in the sink. Paper goods and plastic utensils should be used. Disposable aluminum pans for cooking and serving makes cleaning up easier. Cans may be opened on Shabbat but must be emptied and destroyed.
Notes on Prohibited foods:

  • Pork products cannot be used.
  • Shellfish cannot be used.
  • Meat and milk products cannot be mixed or served at the same meal.

This is something that we as scouters should take as seriously as we would a person with a severe allergy when doing food prep. That may mean we have to change some aspects of the program, camping preparations, or have a separate meal, etc. Even if we don't personally follow that religious faith, it is important to respect it and those who do follow it.

If it is possible, I would suggest that at least occasionally, you have some of the dishes prepared for all the scouts in the troop to partake in, especially if it is something that they may not normally have. This also helps to make all scouts in the troop feel included.

Disclaimer: I'm not Jewish, and may not understand all the rules to follow here... If this is a particular concern for your troop or pack because you have observant Jewish Scouts, look to the scout's parents or religious leaders for more specific and detailed advice.

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