Preparing a Kiddush for
Congregation Netivot Shalom

Please consider the mitzvah of sponsoring a Kiddush. It is a wonderful way to honor an event, a memory, an individual or any other life-cycle event. If you are interested in sponsoring a kiddush, please send an email to The kiddush coordinator will gladly help with any questions you may have. We are often able to pair people together who wish to co-sponsor, and we also welcome last minute requests to sponsor for a simcha or other event.


The primary aspects of the kashrut policy to keep in mind while planning are the following:

  1. Everything to be served or used on Shabbat must be delivered to the shul building and stored in our section of the kitchen by 4:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon. This is so nothing is delivered on Shabbat, and so it can be stored before the building is locked up (sometimes early before Shabbat). There are no exceptions to this. Label any food you bring to avoid confusion.
  2. All cooked food to be served at the Kiddush must be cooked before Shabbat. The only food preparation permitted on Shabbat involves cutting, slicing, dressing, and placement of food on platters. If you’re planning to cook in or use the shul kitchen before Shabbat, please reserve your kitchen time with the office.
  3. We serve only vegetarian/parve food, which includes dairy and kosher fish, at our congregation. The specifics of what this means is spelled out in our Kashrut Policy. This means that most foods require a hechsher on their packaging.
  4. Allow two hours Saturday morning for setup and make sure you have adequate help. Clearly a more elaborate Kiddush will require more help and more time to set up. If you are using a caterer, the caterer should be aware of the time needed and also must be aware of all the information on this web page and the Netivot Shalom Kashrut Policy. See the Kosher Caterers and Bakeries page for a list of approved caterers.


The kitchen supply closet, located in the social hall, is stocked with the following: wine and grape juice with a kosher hechsher, trays, paper plates, napkins, doilies, tiny plastic cups for wine, small paper cups for grape juice, and larger disposable cups for cold drinks. Our cost for the above is about $35/kiddush. Although we are happy to provide these basics, we would also be happy to accept a donation to cover the costs. Of course, if you wish to choose more festive paper goods rather than sticking with our basic whites, feel free to do so.

Several cabinets inside the kitchen may be labeled for use by the afterschool and pre-school programs; please respect these.


For a regular Shabbat, plan on serving food for about 125-150 people. If this is a special event such as a bar or bat mitzvah or other simcha, add the number of guests who are not regular attendees to this basic number. Add more for holidays, but note that on the second day of holidays, the attendance is smaller.


Salads are always popular, especially green salads. For dips, humus and guacamole are very popular. Coffee is not usually served due to the difficulty of having it hot when we don’t use electrical devices on Shabbat. If you need menu ideas, see Moderate Cost Kiddush further down this page or email for suggestions.


If Challah or bread is served then the Kiddush is a meal, and recitation of the HaMotzi (blessing over bread before meals), Netilat Yadaim (ritual hand washing), and Birkat HaMazon (grace after meals) are required. Pita and bagels count as bread. Traditionally if Challah is served, two or more Challot are served. Popular brands of Challah include Semifreddi’s, Grand Bakery, and Irving’s Premium Challah. If you want to add a Challah order to the Shul’s regular order, tell Karen Llamas (our preschool director) by Wednesday.

Netilat Yadaim

If you serve any form of bread, it will be necessary to set up a table for Netilat Yadaim (ritual hand washing) and HaMotzi.

On a table, please set up four hand washing stations, one urn containing extra water, four pitchers for pouring, four bowls to pour into, and paper towels for drying hands. The urns and bowls are located above the freezer on the side of the kitchen by the sink. On the table, set the silver Kiddush cup, the challot, a Challah cover, and a salt shaker. Make sure a garbage can for the used napkins is next to the table.

If you are serving bread, please alert the ritual committee chair so that the birhonim (booklets with Birkat HaMazon) will be brought out and someone will be ready to lead Birkat HaMazon at the end of the meal.


Six round tables with eight chairs each are set up ahead of time (by the custodians) for people sitting and eating at the kiddush. Sponsors are responsible for setting up any additional needed tables. Sponsors are responsible for setting up the long tables for serving the food for kiddush. Please set up the tables to maximize the flow of people around them and to prevent crowding. Our preferred method is to set up the lines to go in opposite directions with tables on each side of the social hall so neither side of the room gets too crowded. On the East side of the social hall the line should begin closest to the kitchen, and on the West side of the social hall the line should begin closest to the glass wall.

The Kiddush is set up in the social hall. However, if Challah is served, then bread and Netilat Yadaim (ritual hand washing) can be set up outside, as can additional tables.

If there will be a large number of children, e.g. if there is a children’s service, it is a good idea to set up children’s tables. There are adjustable height blue tables and small chairs in the social hall for that purpose.

Tablecloths and Setup

Tablecloths for the tables are optional. We have tablecloths sufficient to cover tables for an average Shabbat. However, if you use them, it is your responsibility to clean them and return them by the following Friday. Disposable tablecloths are not available at shul, but you may purchase them and bring them to use. Be sure to dispose of them properly, because they usually contain plastic and cannot be composted.

Tablecloths and paper goods can be set out starting at 9 a.m. If you are setting up for Netilat Yadaim (see above), that can also be set up early. Also, set up a tub of soapy water outside the kitchen for people to leave their metal utensils after Kiddush.

Non-perishables can be set up on platters during services on Shabbat. Everything can be brought out to the social hall or courtyard during Musaf, (additional/final service) after the drash (torah talk) near the end of services. Please remember that you or someone you choose should be prepared to lead Kiddush and HaMotzi, if necessary.

Wine and Juice

Pour the wine and juice during Musaf (the last part of services). Use the small plastic cups for wine and pour each 1/2 full. Also fill the large silver Kiddush cup. Put grape juice in the paper cups, but don’t pour the juice into the paper cups until Musaf, because otherwise they’ll get too soggy and leak. Put the wine and juice cups on serving trays and have people serve them by the entrance to the social hall or patio where kiddush will be recited.


Most of the world’s chocolate is farmed using child labor and even child slavery. The Congregation Netivot Shalom Board has decided that for kiddush, snacks, etc., Netivot Shalom will not buy chocolate unless it is certified as both kosher and ethically sourced. (“ethically sourced”, “fair trade”, and “fairly traded” are used interchangeably). Also, we recommend that all kiddush sponsors and other people donating food buy only ethically sourced chocolate. Most major brand chocolate products (e.g. M&Ms, Oreos, most chocolate ice cream, etc.) are not Fair Trade. See Fair Trade Chocolate for more information and types of chocolate which are Fair Trade.

Clean Up

Whether or not you have hired people to do this, you are responsible for cleaning up following your Kiddush.

Return all food to the kitchen. Compost or throw out everything not worth saving. Storage is limited. Leftovers can be temporarily stored in the refrigerator. Wash, dry and put away all dishes and utensils (the dishwasher is not used on Shabbat). Wipe up the kitchen counters and tops of tables. Return on Sunday to pick up any food you wish to keep. Empty bottles and cans can be placed in the recycling bins.

Clean up includes laundry. Our shul does not have a laundry service for the tablecloths. Please return on Sunday to pick up all the dishtowels, aprons and tablecloths you used for your kiddush. Wash them and bring them back by the next Friday.

You do not have to take down or put away the tables and chairs, and do not need to clean the floor; the custodians do those chores. They also will make sure that the lights are out and the building is locked.

Thank you for sharing your simcha
and sponsoring a kiddush!

Below are some suggestions for a Moderate Cost Kiddush

Kiddush Menu #1 for 150 People — Cost approx. $350 (Nov., 2009)
Salad Bar: set up as 2 stations (rectangular tables 2×2)

  • whole: pre-washed bags of lettuce, spinach, cherry tomatoes
  • grated carrots, cabbage
  • diced scallions
  • sliced avocados, cucumbers, beets, mushrooms, radishes
  • hard boiled & sliced eggs
  • crumbled feta
  • canned corn, chickpeas,
  • jarred olives, pickles
  • sunflower seeds, almonds
  • croutons
  • salad dressing – 2 kinds (*little pitchers/shakers)
Other food: Set up on2 round tables

  • 2 huge Grand Bakery challot
  • stuffed grape leaves
  • hummus (add zatar & olive oil)
  • tuna salad
  • cheese slices & crackers
  • tortilla chips & salsa
  • pasta salad (*ingredients NOT included)
  • Drinks: apples juice, seltzer & mint water & lemon water
  • Dessert: cookies, M&Ms, apples & clementinas
Kiddush Menu #2 for 150 People — Cost approx. $200 (Nov., 2009)
Here are some ideas of what to serve at a moderately priced Kiddush, with minimal preparation time required. All these items can be found at Costco, except for large bottles of soft drinks, for which Smart and Final is often a good choice. All items mentioned are either fresh fruit/veggies, Conservative movement approved (the cheese) or hechshered. Please note that there is no bread (or pita) on this Kiddush menu. This makes for a much simpler Kiddush, as there is no need for netilat yadaim (ritual hand washing) or birkat hamazon (grace after meals).

Directions for assembling: Slice or cube cheese, wash fruits and vegetables and slice if needed, arrange in bowls and on platters, receive grateful thanks of fellow congregants.

  • 3 or 4 bricks or packages of pre-sliced cheese
  • 2 multipacks of crackers “Milton’s”, “Breton”, “Pepperidge Farms”
  • 3 or 4 large tubs of Hummus
  • 2 or 3 large bags of chips
  • large jars of olives or pickles
  • pretzels, nuts
  • packages of ready-to-eat vegetables
  • seasonal fresh fruit
  • Oreos, brownie bites or other cookies
  • bulk candy like M&M’s
  • dried fruit such as raisins mangoes, mixed, etc.
  • nuts: almonds, walnuts, etc.
  • apple juice, soda, sparkling water, etc.

Easy recipe ideas

If you have a kosher kitchen, or are prepared to follow Netivot Shalom’s kashrut guidelines, there are some easy dishes you can prepare at home that are also nice additions to a Kiddush. You may also work in the shul kitchen prior to Shabbat. Check with the office for availability. Remember: all items must be hechshered except eggs, cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables.

Green Salad

  • Packages of pre-washed greens
  • Prepared dressing (or vinegar and olive oil)
  • Seasonal additions such as cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, etc.
  • Directions: Wash items as necessary, add dressing and gently mix.

Pasta Salad

  • pasta from Costco-use about 4-6 lbs.
  • jar of sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
  • box or two of crumbled “Presidents” feta cheese
  • optional: capers, toasted pine nuts, etc.
  • Directions: Cook pasta, add other ingredients and gently mix.

Egg Salad

  • 5 to 6 dozen hard boiled eggs
  • mayonnaise
  • green onions, celery, pickle relish, purple onions
  • salt and pepper
  • Directions: Mash eggs, add other ingredients and gently mix.

Tuna Salad

  • 4 large cans tuna
  • mayonnaise
  • green onions, celery, pickle relish, purple onions
  • hard boiled eggs
  • Directions: Flake tuna, add other ingredients and gently mix.