Food | Passover | Post-Its

Passover Seders and Catering at Handmaker

Handmaker has been providing kosher meals to its residents and the community for 60 years, and Passover-time is no exception. At Handmaker, Passover is observed to the full extent. This huge endeavor requires the cooperation of staff, residents, and family members. The days and weeks leading up to Passover are full of preparation for the holiday, keeping Claire Ferguson – Handmaker Executive Chef, and Mike Felde – Director of Food and Facility Services, very busy. Tons of Passover foods are ordered, received, and sorted through, and non-Passover food items are cleared out as the kitchen is prepared, all with the help of Rabbi Yossi Shemtov. New menus for Passover have already been planned for all meals throughout the holiday, as well as for the special Seder meals.

While many staff members, residents and family members have been at Handmaker for previous Passovers, or may be familiar with how it is observed, this may be the first time for others. Therefore, Passover training is necessary for staff members every year before Passover to ensure that all dietary restrictions are understood and honored. This year the training is planned for April 10, led by Rabbi Shemtov, Claire, and Mike. Residents will also have opportunities to learn about Passover before the holiday begins, so that they too are prepared to observe and celebrate.

Handmaker will be hosting Passover Seders on both nights led by Nanci and Doug Levy, as well as Passover Festival Services on the mornings of April 23 and April 29 led by Mel Cohen and Dan Asia. All residents are invited to join these celebrations. Some residents have already invited family members to the Seders, and guests from outside of Handmaker are invited to attend as well. There is no cost for residents to attend a Seder, but there is a cost of $40 for all guests. All reservations must be made by Thursday, April 18 by contacting Nanci Levy at 520-322-3632, or

Those in the Tucson community who would like to order food for their Passover Seders from Handmaker, or any day during Passover, can check out the offerings on the Handmaker website. Orders for Seder meals must be made by Wednesday, April 17, and orders for other meals should be made 48 hours in advance for best availability, all by calling Claire at 520-322-3639.

Last summer, the community welcomed the addition of Mae’s Kosher Kitchen to the small Tucson Kosher dining and catering scene, supervised by Rabbi Yossi Shemtov. Mae’s unfortunately had to pause operations briefly to streamline the ordering system but is now open once again with a new streamlined ordering process, fully online. Orders can be picked up at Handmaker, with a new delivery option available as well. While Mae’s will be closed to orders during Passover, it will be open before and after the Passover holiday.

On the menu are deli favorites like the reuben sandwich on rye, borscht, pickled herring, and a variety of other delicious salads, sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs and much more. The menu was created and is prepared by Claire, Mike, and Lead Cook, Daniela Hernandez, all of whom have many years of experience in local restaurants and resorts, as well as in the Handmaker kosher kitchen.

Mae’s Kosher Kitchen is named for Mae Handmaker. Mae had a vision to create a Kosher Home for the Aged in Tucson, and, shortly before her death in 1955, her husband Murf promised her that he would fulfill her dream. Murf fulfilled his commitment to Mae in 1963 when Handmaker opened its doors, with the help of many friends and the Jewish Community. Mae’s Kosher Kitchen honors Mae and her vision to create Handmaker Jewish Home for the Aging, which today remains the only kosher senior living facility in Arizona.