“Oh, don’t worry, we’re talking about the food, not you,” Taly’s mother said to Doug over Shabbat dinner.

Since Doug and Taly started dating, it’s been a running joke that his name sounds like the Hebrew word that means “fish.” In Hebrew, where vowels are placed beneath letters and only make their appearance in books meant to teach language, Doug’s name (דג) is identical to the word for fish (דָּג — with vowels).

Meanwhile, Taly (טַלִּי) translates into “dew,” as in the morning moisture that covers the earth each day.


Doug (FISH) – the youngest of four, Doug was born and raised in Connecticut.  He remembers wanting to be around his siblings at all times as a child.  Following in the footsteps of his older siblings, Doug ran cross-country and played basketball and baseball throughout high school.  He continued playing baseball during his undergraduate years at Haverford College, his beloved alma mater, where he studied history and whiled away countless hours at the school dining hall.  Doug studied abroad in Edinburgh for a semester, where he discovered a passion for eating bananas and peanut butter.  Doug continued his studies at New York University, where he earned his Masters degree in Middle Eastern History.  While studying at NYU, he lived in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where he developed a routine of visiting Blue Sky Bakery (for their amazing muffins), Gorilla Coffee (to buy their amazing coffee), Bierkraft (to check out their extensive beer selection), and Bergen Street Comics (to pick up the latest issues of Fables and Hellboy), after taking a refreshing run through Prospect Park.  He’s spending a year abroad in Tel Aviv before returning to New York to hunt for a job at a think tank.

Taly (DEW) – born to Israeli parents who immigrated to the United States, she grew up eating a lot of homemade Iraqi and Turkish food.  She was raised in northeast Philadelphia before moving to southern New Jersey. Her days in the kitchen began early as she helped her mom prepare Shabbat meals every week.  She’s loved cooking ever since and takes pride in her culinary adventurousness and creativity as her favorite cooking involves combining various leftover ingredients into original recipes.  Taly loves to travel and feels blessed to have had the opportunity to visit England, Italy, The Netherlands, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, France, Morroco, Portugal, and the Czech Republic.  She studied history and Spanish at New York University and spent a semester studying abroad in the most wonderful city in Spain, Madrid.  One of her favorite things about New York was the multitude of restaurants serving cuisines from around the world.  She decided to take a year off after completing her undergraduate degree before returning to law school in New York and knew there was nowhere better for her to spend that year than in Tel Aviv.



It is said that, during the 40 years of the Israelites’ wanderings in the desert after their release from servitude in Egypt, G-d provided them with sustenance.  Six days a week, after the morning dew had fallen, the Israelites would find a “flake-like” edible substance–on the sixth day, they received a double portion that would last through Shabbat.  It was called manna, and some say that it tasted like whatever the individual consumer desired.

These consumers–the Israelites, the Jews, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob–were long ago blessed to “multiply as fish in the sea.”

Nowadays, manna is symbolically present during Jews’ Shabbat meals in the form of challah.  Some Jews choose to bless two challahs, representative of the two portions of manna Jews received on the sixth day of the week.  It is also said that the plate upon which the challah is placed and the cloth which covers the challah until its time to be blessed are representative of the layers of dew which encased and preserved the manna in the desert.



The name of our blog, MentalManna, is symbolic in its own way.

It can be deemed a form of mental sustenance–whether for those who choose to read it or simply for us.  We hope our ramblings provide our families, friends, and even random people who stumble across our blog, with information, laughs, and/or reason for introspection.

Even as we contemplate our entries, which we intend to chronicle our experiences during our time abroad in Israel, we foresee it to involve a lot of pictures and discussions of food.  Both of us enjoy eating new things, combining different flavors, experiencing unknown foods, and synthesizing our love for all things food through our own cooking.  Manna creation.

So here we are, Fish and Dew, on our adventure to/in Israel, the land the Jews settled after 40 years of roaming the deserts.  While we may not be planning to settle in Israel, we do plan to enjoy every form of mental and edible sustenance the land will provide us with.

2 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and for the awesome comments! I’ve been enjoying looking and reading through yours – great blog! I love your header photo. I say … go for the pasta roller! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  2. Understand that Dana has passed our contact details to you. Please be sure to call when you arrive. Being one of the more self indulgent people in Tel Aviv, we can certainlyoffer you some great “edible sustenance” Looking forward to seeing you here.

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