Motherhood

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Episode 4: Mothering (Transcript)

Episode 4: Mothering (Transcript)

Hannah Gadsby and Omi

How Hannah Gadsby Helped Me Reclaim My Omi’s Story

by  Zoë Shannon

I thought Omi’s story should have been collected because I thought I knew what her story was. I had created an easy narrative that both mythologized and sanctified her. Unknowingly, I forged an account of Omi as a “perfect woman” who spent her days working and her nights taking care of her son.

Images of TV Jewish Moms (2018)

The (Jewish) Madonna Complex

by Savoy Curry

The Jewish mother loves her children more than anything else, and in this, she wants a better, easier life for her children than she had. Whether that is as origin to our Jewishness, or as learned behavior in the face of bias and antisemitism, it imprints on our mother role and repeats across generations.

Topics: Children, Motherhood
Max M. at his Bar Mitzvah

It Takes a Village

by Dorrit Corwin

Over the years, I’ve been to countless bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies. While each one has been unique to the specific teen being honored, all of the services have been catered to the typical Jewish kid: one who can read English and some Hebrew, memorize prayers, and stand at the bimah and speak about about his or her Jewish education and life experiences. In February, I had the honor of being part of a bar mitzvah that was unlike any of the others I had previously attended. My family friend Max became a bar mitzvah without speaking a single word.

Rena Lubin and Her Mother as Young Girls

The Power of Personal Histories

by Rena Lubin

As an aspiring oral historian, I’ve always gotten chills when listening to recorded interviews. I love the interviewer’s inviting questions, the way the interviewee may leap into a narrative, the chance for the listener to peer into the interviewee’s past, and the powerful, sometimes nostalgic, recollection of a story.

Kara Sherman with her Mom

Not So Jewish American Mothers

by Kara Sherman

Loud. Abrasive. Bossy. Great cook. These attributes all contribute to the popular caricature of the “Jewish American Mother.” I know plenty of women who fit this description. I’ve taught their kids on Sunday mornings. I love some of them. I can’t stand some of them. My mother is Jewish, and American, and pretty bossy when she needs to be; but she’s never conformed to this stereotype.

Topics: Motherhood, Food
Rising Voices Fellow Daniella Shear in Fourth Grade

An Open Letter to Phyllis Lambert

by Daniella Shear

I have wanted to be an architect for as long as I can remember. What started as pretending that my doll and I were real estate agents and playing with Legos and other types of blocks (I had them all), turned into a dream for my future. I don’t know when I started saying that I wanted to be an architect; what I do know is that I’m still saying it today. 

Tova Mirvis

In her novels, Tova Mirvis returns to the themes of characters living in Orthodox communities while struggling with their faith.

Ellen Dreyfus

As one of the first women rabbis (and the first to be ordained while pregnant), Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus helped create a model for work-life balance for both women and men in the rabbinate.

Rising Voices Fellow Sarah Biskowitz with Grandmother Helene

A Girl Grows Up in Brooklyn

by Sarah Biskowitz

“It was the magic age of growing up in Brooklyn,” my grandmother Helene told me as she recounted her idyllic 1940s and 1950s childhood. “A lot of people came out of Brooklyn, and it was a great place to grow up…Bernie Sanders was in my class...Ruth Bader Ginsburg graduated a year ahead of my brother…” 

Rising Voices Fellow Lili Klayman and Family

A Woman And Her Journey To Better A Community

by Lili Klayman

My grandmother Elaine Fallon was born in 1938 and grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts. Social activism has played a major role throughout her life, even though her involvement started later than one would expect. Since her introduction to feminism and activism, Elaine has been a key figure in voicing the importance of education throughout her community. 

Justina Machado

A Tale of Two Quinces: How One Day at a Time Blends Tradition and Modernity

by Katy Ronkin

One Day at a Time is about a Latino family…Oh wait, you thought I was talking about that show from the seventies about a single mother raising her daughter? Well I am. Sort of. The Netflix reboot of One Day at a Time (ODAAT) tells the story of Penelope Alvarez, an army vet, current nurse, and single mother who shares the screen with her two children and her mother. 

Nursing Area Sign

Public Indecency, or Necessity?

by Lili Klayman

Every once in a while the topic of public breastfeeding sparks a heated debate in the media. Whether it’s a nursing mother being asked to leave a public place, or a nurse-in being staged, controversy ensues as many express their varying opinions on the topic. I’m a seventeen-year-old girl who is not a mother (nor would I like to be anytime soon), but the controversy surrounding public breastfeeding completely baffles me.  

Marjorie Ingall

Marjorie Ingall’s 2016 parenting guide Mamaleh Knows Best offers a blend of empathy, ethics, and practical advice that readers have come to expect from her “East Village Mamaleh” column in the Forward.
Sarah, Hagar, and Abraham

Are You There God? It’s Me, Hagar

by Diana Myers

The matriarchs are complex women, who do not always behave “perfectly,” or in the manner we would expect of our biblical female role models. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the story of Hagar, Sarah’s one-time slave, and Abraham’s one-time concubine.

Cropped Excerpt of "The Creation" by Judy Chicago

A Victory for Moms and Midwives

by Dina Weinstein

In 2003, when the new head of obstetrics at the University of Chicago decided to close the nurse midwife practice, he said it was due to cost. For me and many other past and present patients...it also felt like yet another attack on women and our access to quality reproductive health. It seemed to communicate that women's comfort, and the personal services midwives provided, weren’t valued as a meaningful aspect of obstetrics.

Grandmother with Granddaughter

The Sandwich Generation: An Interview with Author Iris Waichler

by Bella Book

Recently, the Pew Research Center has found that in 2013, 47% of adults, ages 40-59, had both a parent who was sixty-five or older and children they were still financially supporting. This group, called the “Sandwich Generation,” will only grow larger as people live longer and have children later.  The responsibility of taking care of elderly parents often falls on daughters who are also mothers and professionals.

Topics: Motherhood

Immigration and Generations: Anzia Yezierska's Children of Loneliness

Children of Loneliness, a short story by immigrant writer Anzia Yezierska, illustrates how one young woman's struggle to find her own place in American society tears her from her parents and their way of life.

Stack of Magazines

Celebrity Status

by Hani Fish-Bieler

I don’t think I fully understood the importance of my mother's words at the time. But looking back, this lesson, and being raised in a household that constantly preached passion and hard work over vanity, are some of the things that have shaped me most into who I am today.

Topics: Feminism, Motherhood
Rising Voices Fellow Rana Bickel Gardening with her Mom

My Mama Loves Every(body)

by Rana Bickel

I was never allowed to have a Barbie doll. My mom decreed it a rule in the Bickel household. I asked her why one time when I was six or seven, and she told me that she didn’t want us having dolls that portrayed unrealistic body standards. She didn’t want me and my two sisters growing up thinking that we were supposed to look like Barbies when we grew up

Episode 4: Mothering

A man with a beard admits he's the stereotypical Jewish mother…a woman who's always been afraid of teenagers explains why an 18-year-old from Somalia is calling her mom…and a veteran stage actor waxes philosophical about all the mother roles she has played—though she's not a mother herself. In this Mother’s Day episode, we celebrate the many forms motherhood can take, and look at what it means to wholeheartedly step into the role.

Rising Voices Fellow Abby Richmond with her Grandmother Cropped

Not Your Average Grandma

by Abby Richmond

Many people view grandmothers as sweet, docile old ladies, whose sole purposes are to bake cookies and knit sweaters for their grandchildren. While it’s true that my Grandma Brenda does greatly enjoy spoiling and feeding her grandchildren, there’s so much more to her story.

Resilience is an attitude Cropped

The Power of Resilience

by Ariela Basson

Change: the act or instance of making or becoming different. Change can be wonderful. Change can be terrifying. Change can be exciting, but change is never easy. Whether we want it to happen or not, change doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye. It takes time and effort. I learned this lesson when I decided to start a new position for my temple’s USY (United Synagogue Youth) board. 

Judy Batalion

An Interview with "White Walls" Author Judy Batalion

by Bella Book

A scholar, writer, and comedian, Judy Batalion has a knack for finding the humor in family. As the daughter and granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Batalion grew up in Montreal with her parents, a younger brother, and a house that was overflowing and chaotic with the results of her mother’s aggressive collecting. With insight and kindness, Batalion's book traces her messy origins, the complicated relationship between being a daughter and mother, and how to live with humor and authenticity in the world, and within our families. We were lucky enough to discuss the release of White Walls with Judy during her ongoing tour.

Judy Gold

Standup comedian Judy Gold won two Daytime Emmys for her work writing and producing the Rosie O’Donnell Show in 1998 and 1999.
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