Letter from Head of School

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The last few weeks of the school year are a busy time, yet the administration has already begun making lists and beginning discussions as we plan for next.    One area that was brought to my attention throughout the year was kashrut, keeping kosher at AJA.

I can attest that maintaining kosher standards in a Jewish day school is not a difficult thing to do in a large city, but in Austin, there is more of a challenge.  Recently, I realized that being a pluralistic school which welcomes students of all backgrounds, not everyone may be knowledgeable of all the rules and laws that regulate what Jews eat as well as the preparation of food.  The list is quite extensive and can be overwhelming from the rules regarding the separation of milk and meat, to Rabbinic supervision of the preparation of food, to which animals and fish may be eaten.   I won’t attempt to explain all the laws of kashrut here, but I would be happy to provide resources for those who would like a deeper explanation.

AJA’s policy on this topic is included in the Parent/Student Handbook. For a complete reading of the policy, please refer to the handbook.   Here are some excerpts:

  • AJA observes the laws of Kashrut (Jewish dietary laws).  Students and adults may bring to school only dairy or pareve (items which are neither dairy nor meat).  Students may not bring any type of meat, poultry, shellfish or pork into the school.
  • Only certified kosher foods may be served at school functions attended by students.  Kosher certification means that an acceptable form of a “hechsher” symbol is on the package or that the food is prepared by a kosher establishment recognized by AJA.
  • The school’s lunch program may include vegetarian/dairy options from a non-kosher certified caterer or other source as part of the optional purchase lunch program.
  • Home prepared goods may not be brought in to share with the class.

Setting school policy is not always an easy task.  Even with good intentions, we tend to personalize issues where it is often a time to remove our parent or personal hat and look to upholding what is best for the school.  As this policy is reviewed, I look forward to hearing your comments and thoughts.  You may reply directly on the Head of School Letter blog.