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Shabbat Kitchen Remodel

This project is being managed by Maxine Berke, Joyce Camhi and Emily Hoffman with assistance from Michael Tenenbaum.

First-principle questions:

  • Why have the Kitchenette in the first place?
  • Why can’t our needs be served with just the big kitchen?
  • What problems will the kitchenette remodel solve that the big kitchen can’t solve?


Sisterhood responds:

"The money donated by Sisterhood ($15,000) is designated only to be used for this remodel; it is not available for any other use."

"My understanding was to make set up for kiddish easier. The easier it is to gather and set up a kiddish, the easier it should be to encourage congregants to assist with the process. Less intimidating for any user, needed items all in one place."

"How are the racks used?"
"The reason for the remodel is to make it easier for the workers to have everything they need in one place. Currently we have to go to the locking Sisterhood cabinet for cookies and whiskey, to the hallway for serving pieces--bowls and trays, to the kitchen refrigerator and freezer for food which doesn't fit in our little refrigerator. With the remodel, all can be accomplished within the kitchenette."  The goal of the little kitchen was to make Saturday morning prep and clean up more orderly and consolidated.  Kitchenette has been and will remain a DAIRY component of our facility.

"In the instances I have used the parve glassware for kiddush set up in the entry (lobby), the glassware is usually rolled out on the carts and put out on the tables. The carts are rolled back to the little kitchen. The dishwasher washes the dishes and then re-loads the green racks which are put back on the rolling carts."

"Yes, my understanding is that they (racks) can also be used as racks in the dishwasher."

1. Are there storage and "transportation" needs? How are they best met?

a "Having one lockable cabinet for alcoholic beverages, linens and other items needing security in the kitchenette will be simple to accomplish and much better than the current system."

b. "The "green stacker racks" on which cups and oval plates are stored are both parve and only used for onegs. We use those plates rarely, perhaps about ten times per year, due to lack of formal onegs. We do use the green holder with glass cups for kiddish and onegs.The rest of "that stuff" is there because we do not have anywhere else to store them."

c. "The round plates we use are stored in the cabinet above the ice maker.   Since all glass plates are very heavy, one or more men help to get them down.New cabinets & storage capacity will allow the handling of all glass plates (now at inconvenient levels in the hallway cabinets with silverware, dishes, etc., or in the kitchenette) to become easier."

d. Committee agreement reached to take all little used dishes and cups out of this room  and store them somewhere else.

2. In response to the question about the best method to store and move food and equipment: 

a. "The oval plates and cups in the green stackers are the "parve" plates and cups that are used for onegs and are not used on Saturdays. "As Emily stated, they are seldom used, since we do not have many formal onegs. Agreement reached on the suggestion to take all but 40 plates out of the Shabbat kitchen and store them somewhere else; they are probably used less than ten times a year.

b. The new refrigerator provides for substantially more storage, energy efficiency and useable space while allowing users to clearly see content without bending or kneeling on the floor.

c. Cabinets provide space to organize dry goods for more efficient use.  Some shelving will be used for large appliances (coffee makers, etc) requiring storage.  Folding high chairs will be replaced for hygienic reasons.  Booster seats and high chairs will be located in another area.

d. Cutting boards, birchat books, other odds and ends can be stored in any number of the newly created cabinet spaces.

3. What are some of the key functional features of the kitchenette plan? 

a. A low, off the counter, microwave "enclosure" is planned as an open faced portion of the lower cabinet over the ice maker designed to house a slide in, 1.2 cu ft microwave, oven. Height above countertop is about 15", providing appliance access for shorter users without taking valuable counter space

b. Apron front, 16-gauge stainless steel, undermount single sink comes with drain & protective rack for sink bottom; apron front eliminates worry over wood scratching or front edge soaking and delaminating along with bacterial build up; large and deep capacity provides more functional filling of pitchers, and rinsing/washing anything.

c. Quartz counter top is low maintenance and very forgiving.

d. The kitchenette is designed and conceived to be as practical, flexible, durable and as low maintenance as possible.

Looking northwest, toward the social hall and kitchen.
Birds-eye view.

4. Workflow

Electric and Plumbing

Have located all electrical devices. Need to get quotes from electrical contractors, make selection and determine rough timeline. Rod may have a preferred electrical contractor. Webster Electric (269) 388-3110) and Esper Electric (269) 342-6909 are two other local electrical contractors we will contact

NOTES:New outlet for refrigerator needed. Likely new outlet for wall just behind microwave. Will there be under-cabinet lighting? Expect one or more new outlet(s) needed on the north and east walls.  Committee currently making final determinations.  Most of these small materials will be provided by CoM; expect electrician to just need to run wire and make connections, ensure circuit board is sufficient, adjust as needed to make all code appropriate.

Plumbing requires minimum modification.  Sink, faucet and connection to refrigerator included In "package" installation costs.  We can tap into cold water line ourselves and run necessary line to refrigerator location for connection by supplier.

Demolition (2-3 days)

1. Empty the room and cabinets of all appliances, dishes, food and portable fixtures.

2. Turn off water supply then disconnect the plumbing and remove the sink.

3. Remove the ice maker (install it elsewhere temporarily?)

4. Remove the countertop.

5. Remove the cabinets.

6. Remove base trim.

7. Secure door to social hall in place.

8. Strip the floor tile. Use a torch or other method to remove the floor mastic. Pay attention to dust control. (Floor tiles here are NOT asbestos)

A dumpster will be needed. We'll utilize CoM’s trash service if possible.


1. CoM members will install steel studs, fire rated 5/8" wallboard, mud, mark for cutouts.

2. CoM members will locate and install chases and boxes for all electrical devices.The north and east sides of room will be furred out with steel channel in order to provide space for electrical boxes.

3. CoM members will frame up area for counter top on east wall as required. Use 5/8 FireCode sheetrock or equivalent over steel studs "shot" securely to block for over wall here.*

3a Attention will be paid to drop ceiling alterations needed with addition of wall changes

4. Rough-in the plumbing and electrical.

5. Hang the Sheetrock and float all wall surfaces. (allow 3-5 days minimum for dry time.)* NOTE: skim coating walls is not recommended here; There is a high failure rate.

6. Sand the walls using a vacuum sander. Prime with block-out.

7. PAINT (by CoM members) with appropriate durable paint; egg shell recommended finish for ease of cleaning.

8. Install the floor (by CoM members). Free floating, interlocking vinyl composite "planks" to be used.

9. Install the cabinets, counter, sink, faucet and backsplash (All by HD contractors except CoM to do backsplash)

10. Re-install door trim and new base trim.

11. Before reinstalling door on north wall, add a window into it if possible.

12. Install appropriate electrical devices, and occupational sensor(s as needed.

13. Reconfigure appropriate items and materials into new spaces.

14. Hold a dedication and open house.

SUGGESTIONS:  While this work is being done, piggyback new location of wall switch for rear hall lights.  Consider painting rear hall cabinets a white or off white color to increase brightness and enhance appearance.  Find better location for used linen bags.  Plate covers needed to cover removed handle opening on door between hallway and social hall.


The cost to furr out, frame, board, trim and float the Social Hall wall and the east wall in "the pocket" is $250.00 - $275.00.  Assuming everything goes wrong, I’d allow 5 days for the job. The majority of the time will be spent waiting for the mud to dry.  Home Depot and Gypsum Supply used for quoting.

What CoM Srategic Goal(s) are met with the kitchenette?

Answer: "Grow, Energize and Engage the CoM Membership."

This process has involved over 10 CoM members, outside designers and consultants, at least 4-5 kitchen layouts and countless hours of meetings private compilation of materials information and selection and communications. The Shabbat Kitchen Committee is comfortable with the final design specifications and materials to be used. Specific materials are not called or discussed in this presentation but will be provided at the Board meeting. Once again, this committee has made selections based on function, longevity, ease of operation, best usage in our space and price. We endorse all of these and will soon provide a motion for approval with costs, for this project to move forward to the Board of Directors.

Prepared and submitted by Michael Tenenbaum, for the Shabbat Kitchen Committee, July 26, 2017. Questions? please contact Maxine Berke