Kosher Kitchen




Parent of former student raised funds to provide kosher kitchen

Provo, Utah, Nov. 17, 2014 – Heritage School opened the first kosher kitchen in a U.S. residential treatment center this month.

A parent of a former student saw the need for a kosher kitchen and began raising money to build one at Heritage. Barbara Belsky from Skokie, Illinois, gathered $16,000 in donations within a year, and gave the money to Heritage even though her son was discharged before the kitchen was completed. There are currently 17 Jewish students at Heritage.

“For us, keeping kosher is a basic part of being Jew,” she said. “Not having it was very upsetting. For some kids, it’s a big deal. It adds to a lot of anguish to tell them not to eat kosher.”

Local Rabbi Benny Zippel, executive director of the Chabad Lubavitch of Utah, was present at the ribbon cutting ceremony on Nov. 5. He showed examples of kosher and non-kosher foods and explained the importance of food that is clean and undefiled, by the laws of God.

Kosher food is treated differently in processing and some foods are banned altogether. Those using the kitchen must learn the restrictions and details, especially keeping various foods separate, such as meat and dairy to prevent contamination of one food to another. To do so the new kitchen is equipped with two of each – ovens, cook tops, microwaves, counter spaces and prep areas as well as two of all other kitchen items, hand towels, utensils, etc.
“One of the greatest things about today is how two communities worked together to make the kosher kitchen happen,” said Heritage’s Chaplain Tami Harris. “Barbara Belsky engaged the Chicago area Jewish Community to fund a kitchen halfway across the country for children they don’t know. Heritage pulled together to see that it happened with permits, bids, purchases, labor and vision.”
Genelle Pugmire, journalist for the Daily Herald in Provo, Utah, wrote the article this press release was drawn from.

Heritage School is a non-profit residential treatment center in Provo, Utah.  Founded in 1984, Heritage School specializes in the treatment of mood disorders and students diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Founder Jerry Spanos pioneered the relationship model Heritage School uses with students. Our direct-care residential staff, who average 10 years of experience at Heritage School, develop relationships of trust with students, guiding them to healthy, productive lifestyles. Our teachers, all special education certified, help students catch up on school credits and prepare for their continued education.  For more information visit our website at or call (xxx) xxx-xxxx.