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Jewesses with Attitude

My Surrogate Jewish Grandmas

You know those heartwarming chick flicks where women with seemingly little in common are forced together by circumstance, bond over something like quilting, beekeeping, small-town politics or a Jane Austen novel, and end up teaching each other a thing or two about life?

That actually happened to me, but it didn’t take place in a goyishe beauty parlor or a nursing home. No, this group formed at the austere Yiddish class of my local Workmen’s Circle.

One night after work, I decided to attend a class in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles so that I could continue studies I had begun several years earlier in college. I was looking for a hobby while my husband worked long hours, and though I knew Yiddish was a quirky pastime for a 26-year old woman, spin class held no appeal. What I found inside the haimish, dilapidated building was nothing like the university class I’d taken years before. The teacher, an old-school, erudite litvak named Yakov Basner, got down to brass tacks with the alef-beys, avoided using a text book and gave lengthy dictations. I liked him immediately.

The beginner class was small, composed entirely of retired women of different ages. . .

>>>Read more at The Sisterhood


Rachel Rosmarin
Full image
Image courtesy of Rachel Rosmarin.

How to cite this page

Rosmarin, Rachel. "My Surrogate Jewish Grandmas." 5 October 2012. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on December 1, 2015) <>.


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