Devorah Tzemach Mencher’s parents were born in Poland. Her mother moved to Israel (then Palestine) in 1935 when Devorah’s father became a prisoner of war during World War II. After most of their family was killed and her father set free, he walked from Siberia to Poland and then walked to Israel. Devorah was born in 1951 on Kibbutz Galon. She grew up surrounded by farmlands and orchards. She would go out to the fields and eat fresh corn from the stalk, carrots from the ground and oranges and grapefruits from the trees. She’d break a watermelon in the field and eat it, and delighted in picking the pomegranates and eating them below the tree she picked them from. To this day, from May to October, Devorah forages in her neighborhood during her daily walks, picking the fruit that hangs over the sidewalks.
Living on a kibbutz means communal living. She grew up in the children’s house, along with all the other kids on the kibbutz. They’d bring stacked containers of food from the main kitchen where everyone ate which included beets (which she hated), freshly baked bread and pasta daily (which is why she won’t eat pasta today). She never saw her parents cooking or her mom in the kitchen except when she’d occasionally bake cakes on the stove (they didn’t have an oven) or make a meal for the sabbath with vegetables from the garden and a chicken from the kibbutz butcher.
As a teenager, Devorah helped her mother as a caregiver in the kibbutz nursery school and would watch as they did artwork outside, covered in paint and sand. When she was drafted in the army at 18 she was simultaneously able to receive a teaching certificate and taught at a boarding school for immigrants and kids who couldn’t make it in the traditional education system. She became a supervisor of other teachers, then an officer who would travel and observe other teachers in the south of Israel. Devorah got married in 1974 and their daughter Noa was born in 1975. She took classes at the university and got a degree in Special Education. They adopted their son Amir when he was almost 3 in 1982. In late summer 1989, Devorah and her husband decided to move to America. Devorah went ahead to Portland to find a place to live and a job. On her second day in Portland, she met Karen Blauer at a Sabbath eve dinner. Their friendship grew as Devorah’s marriage deteriorated. When her daughter graduated high school, Devorah’s husband and son moved back to Israel in 1995, her daughter went into the Israeli army, and Devorah and Karen made a home together in Portland in 1996.
Devorah was a Special Education teacher for 43 years. She retired in 2013 and has been focusing on enjoying life and doing energy work for health and well-being. For the last 10 years, she has volunteered in the neighborhood horticulture garden and in an overnight facility for kids with emotional disabilities
Salatim (Assorted Salads)
chopped Israeli – cucumber, tomato, green onion, lettuce, lemon vinaigrette
hummus – garbanzo bean & tahini purée
beet – vinegar, horseradish, olive oil
roasted eggplant – olive oil, garlic, lemon, tahini
served with warm pita
Grandma Mary’s Meatballs
Painted Hills natural beef meatballs,
mozzarella cheese, tomato-basil sauce, grilled bread
Crispy Chicken Schnitzel
breaded chicken breast with sesame seeds, chopped Israeli salad, hummus
Chicken Cutlet Parmesan
pan-fried, mozzarella, tomato-basil sauce, linguini
Malabi (Rose Water Milk Pudding)
pomegranate syrup, fresh local berries, pistachios
Goldstar Dark Lager