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Cooking gives you results right away , and the boys loved that they had something to show for their efforts every session . The whole high school would come running to see what they made ! change in Yeshiva lunch plans , Mrs . Florans announced , “ Today isn ’ t a fun day . Today we ’ re helping out !” The boys got to work putting sauce and cheese on pizza for the entire Yeshiva ( close to 1400 portions ). They paid forward yet another time by producing professional-looking franks-in-blankets and mini knishes for a Yeshiva function .
high school would come running to see what they made !” The boys always brought samples to Rabbi Dachs , who made sure to give honest critiques .
It actually was not the first time the Yeshiva offered a cooking class . Alumnus Yisroel Meir Bookman , of the Mesivta Class of 2007 , remembers that in his junior year he was part of a class of seven who learned basic cooking techniques in the Waterview building on campus . “ We were taught basic skills , like sharpening and handling knives , how to make soups , how to balance seasonings ,” Yisroel Meir recalls . “ We ’ d go to Kosher World to pick out ingredients . For me , it was an entertaining , educational break from the regular learning .” Since graduating , Yisroel Meir has become the third generation of butchers in his family , and segued into a culinary side career as a barbecue caterer .
This year ’ s students would decide together , as a class , which recipes they wanted to attempt . Some choices were inspired by yamim tovim ( donuts for Chanukah , hamantaschen for Purim ). Chicken poppers were a huge favorite ; Mrs . Florans let them experiment with spicing them , learning through trial and error . “ She taught them that things don ’ t always come out perfect , even for her ,” says Rabbi Dachs . “ That was a great life lesson , and I was impressed to see that the boys didn ’ t get discouraged when things didn ’ t go well . Once , a boy started making General Tso ’ s chicken and realized he was missing a crucial spice . Instead of giving up , he improvised his own recipe , and it turned out great !”
One day , when there was a sudden

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Cooking gives you results right away , and the boys loved that they had something to show for their efforts every session . The whole high school would come running to see what they made ! change in Yeshiva lunch plans , Mrs . Florans announced , “ Today isn ’ t a fun day . Today we ’ re helping out !” The boys got to work putting sauce and cheese on pizza for the entire Yeshiva ( close to 1400 portions ). They paid forward yet another time by producing professional-looking franks-in-blankets and mini knishes for a Yeshiva function .

The training boosted not only the boys ’ skill sets , but also their self-confidence . “ The parents were thrilled , too ,” Mrs . Florans says . “ One boy went with his family to his grandmother for Pesach , and cooked the entire yom tov !” Rabbi Dachs was glad to witness the warm collegiality among the boys , who encouraged and complimented each other ’ s efforts .
The course ’ s grand finale was a cook-off attended by Rabbi Dachs , the Rosh HaYeshiva , Rav Yaakov Bender , and other members of the faculty . Everybody “ won ,” although the judges were particularly impressed by the Southern fried chicken and the saucy hot dog and pastrami roll . Then — as the boys had been trained by Mrs . Florans — they cleaned up . Three of the eleven boys in the class now say they have found their life ’ s calling . Ami , who created pastrami wontons for the cookoff , isn ’ t sure yet whether cooking will be a vocation for him or just a hobby .
The Weiss Vocational Center was named for Mor and Deborah Weisz , ba ’ alei chesed before and during World War II who established a kitchen for the poor and vocational programs that included baking . As our Darchei talmidim learn their way around the kitchen and master employable life skills , they perpetuate the Weisz legacy exactly as it began . !
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