Ruth Jerome A”H 4th Annual Garden & Pool Tour
By Inbal Khabieh
“A beautiful garden can change your outlook for the rest of the day!” Such was the mindset of Ruth Jerome A”H, whose passion for open landscapes transcended gardening and extended to a deep interest in how a space can be utilized and transformed into something truly special. She imparted this love for landscape design to her son, Abe Jerome, and together they toured and enjoyed gardens all over the world. Four years after her passing, Abe Jerome carries on this legacy by leading the Ruth Jerome A”H Annual Garden Tour in collaboration with Julie Sherr, Director of the Sephardic Community Center’s Women’s Culture Club.
On Wednesday, July 12th, over 200 men and women gathered in Deal, NJ for the 4th Annual Ruth Jerome A”H Garden Tour. The day began at the home of Rina and Ely Cohen, where guests received pink parasols and fans upon check-in. As guests entered the yard, they were greeted by delicious lunch options from Nicole’s Kitchen, which they enjoyed while overlooking a pool covered in hand-painted Italian tiles. Surrounded by palms and lush grass, the greenery perfectly complemented the ocean views and breeze. The group then proceeded to Jo Ann and David Levy’s home just across the street, which featured a yard and vegetable garden that overlooked the beach. The design of the garden was a perfect marriage between vintage and contemporary elements. This design approach was a common theme among many homes on the tour, as they had been occupied by multiple generations of the same family and managed to preserve family history while staying up to date. After a relaxing moment enjoying the sea air, the group moved on to the home of Mimi and Lou Franco. There, they encountered a sprawling yard that included a miniature golf course, an expansive pool house, and an abundance of colorful flowers that created a delightful ambiance. With its diverse features and activities, it was no wonder that the Franco family’s children and grandchildren gathered at the home each weekend, with one even living there for the summer. Following the visit to the Franco’s house, a short trip down the road led everyone to the home of Paulette and Morris Bailey. TeaToxx Iced Tea provided a refreshing way for everyone to cool down. The different spaces in the yard, such as the tennis area, the pool area, and the patio, gave a sense of individuality to each activity while still bringing everyone together. These spaces were designed to cater to people of all ages and interests. Finally, the tour concluded at the home of Michelle and Jack Haddad. Guests traversed the expansive cobblestone driveway and were greeted by lush fountains circling over the pool, an expansive cabana, a dining table, seating area, and desserts. As guests left the final stop, each received carefully curated gift bags containing a floral cocktail recipe book, a floral deck of cards, a colorful scarf, and Popsanity popcorn.
Each year, Abe Jerome and the Garden Tour Committee, in collaboration with the Sephardic Community Center, hand-select approximately 5-6 homes for the Garden Tour. Not all of the featured gardens and pools are designed by Abe Jerome; sometimes none of them are. Nonetheless, Abe Jerome finds fulfillment in sharing his love and knowledge of gardens and spaces in honor of his late mother. The collaboration with the Sephardic Center is the perfect alliance for what is not just a tour, but a celebration of family legacy, multi-generational use, occupancy, and development.
As everyone looks ahead to the 5th Annual Garden Tour in 2024 B”H, there is a deeper love and appreciation for flowers, landscapes, and lineage. Abe Jerome’s wish is that a portion of the proceeds from the day will go to the Sephardic Center’s Senior Department. A heartfelt ‘thank you’ goes to the staff of Abe Jerome and the Sephardic Center, as the Garden Tour would not be possible without their support. A special mention goes to Sonja Cabasso and Michelle Safdieh for their thoughtful and tireless efforts in making the Garden Tour a success. It is the hope of everyone involved that you not only stop and smell the roses, but also realize that the most lovely silence is that of growing things.