Voices: May/June 2017

We asked participants in the Jewish Community Center’s Taglit day program: What have you learned about—and from—cooking?

May 8, 2017

Issue 24: May/June 2017Voices

Since 1989, the Tucson Jewish Community Center has been open to Tucsonans of all faiths. The 110,000-square-foot space is a forum for events, education, after-school care, fitness classes, and community for more than 2,000 families and 5,000 members.

The Taglit day program was designed to support adults and young adults with special needs in the JCC community. Every other week, participants in the program attend a cooking class, experimenting with traditional kosher recipes and ingredients to create tasty dishes such as the Matzah Lasagna (pictured), which was being cooked in honor of the Passover holiday. While using these kosher ingredients, the participants are also learning what kosher means and how to practice kosher cooking. Participants learn how to find ingredients in stores and follow recipe instructions and proper kitchen practices, with the goal of being able to apply those skills in their own lives and to shop and cook for themselves. As a volunteer reads the ingredients step-by-step, the class works together to create something delicious.

Jordan Nissen.

“I have everyone in class I’d ever want. I have close friends here like Amy and Mark. Everybody’s here! We learn to make good food, like pasta and red sauce.”

– Jordan Nissen


Chase Haynes.

“It is a really good program. I have learned to use knives to cut vegetables like the onion for the Matzah Lasagna. I’ve learned skills that will help me be able to cook for myself.”

Chase Haynes


Kyle Nelson.

“It is something that is very fun for me. It is also a living skill. It helps me take care of myself because I live with my Grandma and she won’t always be here, so it is nice to learn how to do these things for myself actually.”

– Kyle Nelson


Trudy Dykstra.

“I like the program a lot. It has given me a lot of good skills. I learned how to use olive oil in pasta. My favorite meal we have made is the Matzah Lasagna. This is good right here.”

– Trudy Dykstra


Mark Frederick.

“I would say teamwork and learning how to cook for myself. My favorite foods to cook are ribs, nachos, hamburgers, steak, and different vegetables. This program has helped my cooking get a lot better.”

– Mark Frederick


Rikki Williams.

“My favorite food is my mom’s pepperoni pizza. I have always liked ceramics and painting and have learned a lot about cooking.”

– Rikki Williams

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