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My two moms: Jewesses with a different kind of attitude

I am a lucky girl. I have two women who I call mom. Well, one I call mommie and the other emma (Hebrew for mother), but that’s just semantics. I have two maternal figures and role models who inspire me to be a better woman now, and to be a better mom when my time comes.

My mommie gave birth to me and physically brought me into this world. She raised me to be a kind, caring, confident, empowered woman, just as her mom raised her to be. My emma gave birth to my religious identity. She helped me to grow into the outspoken, educated, empowered Jewish woman she knew I could be. Without knowing each other, they shaped the most critical years of my life with their love and guidance.

While these two women are so very different, they share some of the most important qualities I can imagine. They are warm, nurturing, and open. They listen to those around them, and really hear what they have to say. They will do anything in their power to help a friend in need, and when the friend doesn’t know what can be done, they’ll make cookies and just be a positive presence. The doors to their homes are always open and there is always a seat at their table. Their children, and their children’s friends, love them unconditionally - and they love them right back.

If I can embody just one thing from each of my maternal inspirations, it would be their welcoming spirit. Just as our foremother Sarah is remembered for the open sides of her tent and her desire to always make everyone comfortable so to do these women embody gemilut chasadim (deeds of loving kindness) in their homes and their communities. They are Jewesses with a different kind of attitude, one that is eternally warm and hopeful.

I am honored to have them as a part of my life, my heart, and my future. Happy Mother’s Day!

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Melissa Scholten-Gutierrez Dances with her Emma
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Melissa Scholten-Gutierrez dances with her emma.
Photograph by Real Photography.
Melissa Scholten-Gutierrez Hugs her Mother
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Melissa Scholten-Gutierrez hugs her mommie.
Photograph by Real Photography.
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How to cite this page

Scholten-Gutierrez, Melissa . "My two moms: Jewesses with a different kind of attitude." 11 May 2012. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on January 24, 2018) <>.


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10 hr
So wonderful to read the long-lost story of this icon.
11 hr it just us, or is there something missing from this list of Jewish Oscar nominees?