Spirituality at Shalom Village
As outlined in our mission statement, Shalom Village operates within the context of Jewish culture, values and Kashruth.
We are fortunate to have our own synagogue on-site, the Zoltan and Yetta Freeman Family Chapel. The synagogue at Shalom Village is home to the Ohev Zedec Congregation, as well as a place of worship for our residents. Shabbat services are held there as well as observance of all Jewish holidays, including Hannukah, Purim, Passover, and Yom Hashoa. Many of the artifacts in the Zoltan and Yetta Freeman Family Chapel came from the old Hess Street Shul that is the former home of the Ohev Zedec Congregation.
Our Rabbi, Aaron Selevan, is available to all residents, family members and staff seeking spiritual guidance, or just wishing to talk. Rabbi Seleven meets regularly with Community Centre staff to plan activities that acknowledge beliefs and traditions.
Aaron Shiffman is our Mashgiach. Highly respected in the Jewish community, Mr. Shiffman guides our observance of Kashruth, or Jewish dietary law. In this role, he works closely with our staff, suppliers, and Rabbi Selevan to keep our home Kosher.
While Shalom Village is primarily a Jewish organization, we offer spiritual opportunities for residents of all faiths. As well as regular Shabbat services, non-denominational Church services are conducted in partnership with our local churches.
Spirituality is a key part of our palliative care program, and Rabbi Selevan is actively involved with families during this difficult time. As our care teams work together to enable residents to pass their final days with dignity and comfort, Rabbi Seleven is on hand to offer spiritual support.
Click here to learn more about Jewish Life at Shalom Village.
Observing Shabbat and Jewish Holidays
At Shalom Village, we celebrate all Jewish holidays. The Jewish day begins and ends at sundown; thus, all holidays begin at sundown of the first date shown and end at nightfall of the last day shown. Since the Jewish calendar begins with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish year always straddles two years from the civil calendar. In other words, spring holidays (such as Pesach and Shavuot) occur in the civil year following Rosh Hashanah.
The following calendars offer a brief description of some of the special days observed at Shalom Village. For more information about any of the holidays, please click here to learn more about Jewish Life at Shalom Village.
As with any holiday, there is usually an appropriate greeting. For the festivals of Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot the greeting is “Gut Yontif” (Yiddish for “good holiday”) or “Hag Sameach” (Hebrew for “good holiday”).
For Rosh Hashana, you can add “May you have a sweet year”. For Yom Kippur, you can add “Have an easy fast” or “May you be inscribed for a happy, healthy and sweet year”. On the Sabbath, on Friday night you can say “Gut Shabbos” (Yiddish for “Good Sabbath”).
Click here to learn more about Jewish Life at Shalom Village.
The Kosher dietary laws, Kashruth, are based on the Torah; in particular, the first five books. These rules also make up the basis of today’s humane animal slaughter, most food processing, and give insight on Kosher kitchen management. Shalom Village follows the traditions and interpretations of the orthodox branch of the Jewish religion.
There are two major concepts/considerations in the Kosher dietary laws. One is the type of foods and another is the separation of meat and dairy products. The Laws of Kashruth as they relate to all varieties of food are briefly summarized below. For complete laws, see an Orthodox Rabbi.
Laws of Kashruth state that in order for an animal to be Kosher it must have two characteristics:
- It must chew its cud
- It must have split hooves
Slaughtering of Kosher meat is done under the auspices of a Rabbi in the most humane way.
The meat group is the most strictly observed group of foods. Animals are divided into classifications of “acceptable” and “forbidden”. The very state of the animal (alive, healthy, etc.) also determines if the meat is acceptable or not. Lastly, the preparing of the meat is important to its acceptability. Animals considered acceptable include the cow and calf, sheep and lamb, as well as the goat and kid. Fowl that are scavengers or birds of prey are not acceptable for use. The following characteristics are designated as acceptable for Kosher food.
- Are not birds of prey
- Do not have a front toe (used for tearing flesh, as in the vulture)
- Do not have a craw
- Do not catch food thrown into the air, then drop it on the ground to tear it up before consuming it
The following are acceptable: turkey, chicken, duck, quail, Cornish rock hen. After slaughter, the meat is still not Kosher until it is soaked in cold water for half an hour; it is salted with a heavy coarse salt on a slanted drain board for one hour and rinsed in cold water three times. Liver must be Koshered differently. It is salted, burnt over a fire and rinsed in cold water. The meat is then ready for use.
Fish that have fins and scales are acceptable. Shellfish are forbidden. Fish are considered “Pareve” or neutral; therefore, fish can be eaten with either dairy or meat products. It can be eaten on either the dairy or meat plates; however, it cannot be mixed with the meat.
Animals cannot be hunted and killed, but must be slaughtered in a prescribed manner. A licensed slaughterer cuts the animal’s throat with one swift cut using a very sharp knife. This is the least painful method of slaughter and allows good drainage of the blood. Blood must be drained completely from a carcass. The Bible forbids the devouring of blood. The carcass is hosed down with water to further the draining of blood. An animal for Kosher consumption must be in good health, killed in the least painful manner and its carcass thoroughly washed down. The hindquarters below the sinew of Jacob cannot be used. This leaves the front quarters.
The law prohibits using meat and milk at the same meal. The length of time between eating meat and milk varies, with many individuals now waiting a shorter period. (“Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk”). Kosher non-dairy cream substitutes can be used in coffee or tea with a meat meal.
Jewish law allows for the sick to be excepted from certain dietary laws; therefore, at Shalom Village, nutrients needed by the elderly in between meals which contain milk or milk products, are allowed.
In order to generally conform with Jewish law, Shalom Village breakfasts and lunches are dairy meals, and the evening meal will be considered a meat meal, although it may be fish.
Separate dishes and utensils must be used for milk and meat dishes; therefore, dairy dishes for breakfast and lunch are stored and washed in the individual dining rooms while the meat dishes will be stored and washed in the main kitchen.
All cooking areas and utensils are used, washed and stored in separate areas in the main kitchen.
Milk dishes stored in a refrigerator with meat dishes are allowed if the dishes are tightly to prevent seepage.
The Shalom Village kitchen has two separate coolers. Totally separate shelves for meat, dairy and Pareve divide the walk-in fridge; however, the refrigerators in each house store dairy products. Residents may keep food (dairy) brought by families in these refrigerators if it is clearly wrapped and marked by the family with the resident’s name and date.
Mixes – Meat & Dairy
As noted, meat and milk must not be mixed. Cheese, sour cream, and butter cannot be used in the making of a meat dish and cheeseburgers are not Kosher.
At Shalom Village, we bake with Coffee Rich milk substitute; therefore, our cakes can be eaten with either a meat or milk meal. The pans and utensils are kept separate and considered Pareve (neutral). The same can apply to such dishes as rice pudding or some soups requiring milk. Shalom Village lunchtime soups are dairy; most contain butter and milk. Eggs that have no blood spots and come from Kosher fowl are accepted as Pareve.
Vegetables & Fruit
This is the most open group. In practical terms, all fruits and vegetables can be consumed without restriction, except during Passover, when most legumes are not eaten. Butter on a vegetable served with a chicken entrée is not permissible, because you cannot mix dairy products with meat.
Dried fruits, such as prunes, apples, apricots and raisins are enjoyed as dessert or as a snack. They are Pareve.
Eggs must be broken and inspected for blood specks before they can be used. Eggs, vegetables and fruit can be eaten with meat or milk (dairy) meals.
Bread & Cereal Group
This group is also fairly open, except during Passover. Breads not made with animal fat or milk are considered Pareve and can be eaten with all types of meat.
Matzoh is used throughout the year because many enjoy it, but it is also the only meal allowed during Passover. Matzoh is the flat unleavened bread that was consumed because there was no time for bread to rise during the Exodus from Egypt.
This is a Spring holiday that comes in March or April.
At Passover, the kitchen and our dining rooms are completely and thoroughly scrubbed down. We cover the pantry shelves and fridge with tin foil and cover counters with Passover counter tops. A Rabbi comes to inspect all our cooking facilities and to Kosher for Passover the pots, cutlery, dishwashers, steam tables, stoves, ovens and counter tops. Pots and utensils that cannot be Koshered are put away and replaced with Passover dishes. Both dairy and meat dinnerware are changed for the eight days.
We do not use any food products containing leavening agents, pasta, rice, flour, beans, and so on. Bread is not served during the eight days of Passover. We serve both egg and regular matzoh. Residents who wish to have regular food (not Kosher or not Kosher for Passover) may do so in their own rooms on disposable dinnerware. Our staff is happy to provide assistance and more information on this option. Please note, non-Kosher food cannot come into the dining room during Passover.
Our residents celebrate Passover with a “Seder”. All the traditions are observed and traditional foods are served. Family members are invited to celebrate with us!
Passover can be a difficult time for non-Jewish residents and we appreciate the cooperation of our residents and families during this time.
Hechshers (Seals of Approval)
Many foods that can be used include a particular symbol. This is most often seen as a K, U, MK, or have “COR” followed by a number. These have been inspected or produced under strict rabbinical law and are guaranteed Kosher. Detailed reading of the label is important in these matters.
Families are encouraged to bring goodies for their relatives; however, products brought on-site not purchased from Shalom Village or from a Kosher bakery, cannot be taken into the dining rooms. The nearest Kosher bakery is in Westdale, but for special occasions, families are encouraged to ask that our kitchen provide a cake.
Families can use the family dining room for special parties and occasions. Families are to provide their own paper, disposable cloths and other disposable products, but Shalom Village is happy to cater cold food. Please notify our office of your celebration plans so we can work together to create a wonderful event for your loved one!
Non-Kosher food requiring re-heating – brought in by families for residents – can be heated in the staff-room microwave oven only. If you have any questions about Kashruth and Shalom Village, please ask our staff.