Despite the Bedlam

For my birthday, Philippe, the girls and I attended a hummus making workshop at the home of Imbar Rogea, a vegan chef in South Tel Aviv. Seated around her table, we learned the difference between the four chick pea beans and which one is best for hummus; how long to soak and cook the beans; why some hummus in creamier than others; how to find the perfect consistency. We chopped, cut, sliced, diced, tasted and rolled all the way home. Full. Since then, we’ve successfully made yummy homemade hummus in this house several times.


Benjamin turned 21 and finished his army service and is officially employed as CEO of


The five of us spent seven days in Italy, our first trip all together since April 2011. We stayed three nights in La Spezia on the Ligurian coast and hiked from one village to another in Cinque Terra and around Portovenere; three nights in Venice, where the girls and I saw see Don Giovanni at the Teatro La Fenice di Venezia; one afternoon in Milan, where Daniella met a friend she made on her summer trip to Ghana and Benjamin visited a start-up. We ate pizza at least four times, pasta at least four times and gelato on a daily basis.

In Portovenere's charming old city


During my cousin’s speed-demon visit to Israel, we traipsed around Jaffa first under rainy skies and then bright blue ones. We oohed and aahed over the weathered, painted teal green shutters; planter boxes dangling from balconies; the Market House Hotel next to Dr. Shakshuka; a religious man in a black suit and peyot winding tfillin around the forearms and foreheads of passersby; the assaulting odors in a new perfumery store; the call to prayer directly above our ears at a local mosque; the endlessness of the Mediterranean Sea.


Philippe and I hosted the vegan chef, Imbar, for a wild chocolate making workshop. Seven friends participated and together we learned where, how, why the cocoa bean was found, used, formed, bought, sold, traded. The best part was we made three different recipes and gorged ourselves during each part of the process. Some of us felt ill by the afternoon but have no regrets.

Imbar educates us about the wild and enchanting aspects of the cocoa bean

Philippe and Daniella left on a five-day bike ride in the Negev, to the Dead Sea, ending in Jerusalem to raise money for ALYN Children’s Hospital in Jerusalem. They began training in September and even took two classes to learn mountain biking techniques. Thank you to everyone who donated to help their team. If you are interested in pitching in it’s not too late.


Benjamin and I attended the Weizmann Institute’s 66th Annual General Meeting of the International Board’s conferment ceremony of Doctor of Philosophy Honoris Causa because one of my family’s best friends received an Honorary Doctorate for his outstanding work in physics. As soon as we drove through the main gate, the campus charmed me with its greenery and tranquility. Never had I witnessed so much pomp and circumstance—caps, gowns, processions, music, speeches—in this country.


Daniella in the desert

The house will soon go from quiet [with Philippe and Daniella away] to quieter as Simone heads out for her 48-hour class trip to Akko. And in their absence, I will teach yoga, write and try my best to make sense of the helter-skelter, topsy-turvy world in which we live.

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4 Responses to “Despite the Bedlam”

  1. Zondra Barricks November 13, 2014 at 2:42 am #

    Love peeking in on the family. Thanks for the opportunity! XOZ

  2. Jeanette lerner November 13, 2014 at 2:54 am #

    Wow Jen busy life love reading about your adventures. The kids all look great. I’m sure you are relieved that Benjamin is done with the army, wow already a CEO of a company what an accomplishment. Did he attend college? Love to all xxxx

  3. Amy November 14, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    Sounds wonderful all around, everything an Israeli life should be! Happy to hear Benjamin finished his service.
    Shabbat Shalom.

  4. marianne/mom November 15, 2014 at 12:05 am #

    The way you put a positive spin is admirable! And you and the family created such an interesting life for yourselves “Despite the Bedlam”. It’s all to your credit that you are able to do this in the atmosphere in which you live.

    Much love,
    Your Proud Mother

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