Motherhood

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Collection

Episode 85: Teens and Mental Health in the (Post)Pandemic

Teens were already struggling before COVID. When the pandemic hit, things just got worse. In this episode of Can We Talk?, we speak with Vanessa Kroll Bennett, co-host of The Puberty Podcast, parenting writer, and mother of four, about teens and mental health—before, during, and after the pandemic—gender differences, and what caregivers and Jewish communities can do to help. We also hear directly from teens about how the pandemic affected them and how they're doing now. 

Ruth Zakarin, a community organizer, and her daughter at a March For Our Lives rally in Boston.

Watching with Pride and Sadness as a New Generation Takes up the Fight

Ruth Zakarin

I’m proud that my children are fighting for gun violence prevention and abortion rights. But I wish they didn’t have to.

Film still from Kissing Jessica Stein: two women kissing

The Expansive Queerness of "Kissing Jessica Stein"

Emma Breitman

Kissing Jessica Stein flips the heteronormative script, making for a fun watch over 20 years after its release. 

Jewish Women and Intermarriage in the United States

Marriages between Jews and people of other faiths have long fascinated scholars, clergy, and communal leaders, who often considered the choice of a Jewish spouse as an indication of the strength of ethnoreligious identity and commitment to perpetuating Judaism and the Jewish people. However, many Jewish women who intermarry in the United States continue to identify Jewishly, engage in the Jewish community, and raise Jewish children.

This entry uses gender as category of analysis and change over time to illuminate the experience and meaning of interfaith marriage for Jewish women in America. It describes how women navigated their ethnoreligious identities when they married Gentile men, the influences of feminism, the rise of ethnic consciousness, and parenthood.

Two black-and-white photos of girls

Czarna, Reimagined

Julie Zuckerman

A previous essay for JWA leads Julie Zuckerman to a long-lost relative and opens a door to her family’s past.

Woman stands on in subway car with her head peeking through open doors

"Russian Doll" Season 2: Messy, but Beautiful

Emma Breitman

Despite a sloppy start, the show’s second season ultimately hooked me with its exploration of Jewish themes.

Jennifer Sartori holding her baby baby daughter

For Jewish Adoptive Mothers Like Me, Mother’s Day is Anything But Simple

Jennifer Sartori

The “Hallmark holiday” stopped being torturous after I adopted my daughter. But it will always be complicated.

Collage of old photo of author's grandmother and her brisket recipe in a frame

A Recipe That Defies Time—Just Like Passover Itself

Savoy Curry

The ingredients are simple, but the connections to my family and to Jewish history run deep.

Helène Aylon

Helene Aylon was an American, New York-based, multimedia visual artist who began by creating process art in the 1970s, focused on anti-nuclear and eco-activist art by the 1980s, and subsequently devoted more than 35 years to the multi-partite installation The G-d Project. This last body of work’s often direct or indirect textuality resonates from and responds to Judaism’s traditionally male-dominated textuality as part of a larger commentary on women in Judaism.

Therese Shechter stands in front of a bunch of strollers in My So-Called Selfish Life

Childfree, with No Regrets and No Apologies

Dr. Helene Meyers

Full of insights from experts and the joyously childfree, this film expands our understanding of reproductive justice.

Rachel Kest with her two children

Kids Are Struggling. As Parents of Kids with Disabilities Already Know, Schools Can Help.

Rachel Kest

For tips on how to help kids thrive, look no further than parents of kids with disabilities—and Maimonides.

Abby Joseph Cohen

A leading voice in the United States investment banking and finance industry, Abby Joseph Cohen worked in the Goldman Sachs investment research division for over three decades. She rose to prominence in the 1990s with her accurate predictions of a prolonged economic expanding and durable bull market and has remained one of the top names in the investment industry.

Mayim Bialik

Mayim Bialik is most famous for starring as the titular character in the early 1990s series Blossom and, in the 2010s, on Big Bang Theory as Amy Farrah-Fowler. She is also known for being one of the few observant Jewish actors in Hollywood and for holding a PhD in Neuroscience from UCLA.

Jewish Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo

The Jewish women who formed part of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo were pivotal to the human rights movement in Argentina, fighting for truth and justice for victims of the 1976-1983 dictatorship that resulted in 30,000 disappeared, tortured, and killed.

Judith Sheindlin

For two and half decades, former New York family court Judge Judith Sheindlin has riveted daytime viewers, racked up awards, and sold thousands of books to people hungry for the tough love of a tough Jewish mother. Millions of viewers who watch Judge Judy every day are treated to many Yiddish words and wisdom the jurist uses on a parade of deserving participants who enter her TV studio courtroom.

Barbara Seaman

Muckraking journalist Barbara Seaman survived a tumultuous childhood in New York City to become a bestselling author, a prominent second wave feminist, and, as a founder of the women’s health movement, an architect of informed consent. A lifelong scourge to the pharmaceutical industry, Seaman exposed the dangers of the high-dose birth control pill, hormone replacement therapy, and male doctors’ hubris.

Barren Women in the Bible

The Hebrew Bible tells six stories of barren women: three of the four matriarchs (Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel); the unnamed wife of Manoah/mother of Samson; Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel; and the Shunnamite woman, an acolyte of the prophet Elisha.  Each woman suffers a period of infertility, in some cases exacerbated by the presence of a fertile, though less beloved, rival wife. Eventually, God intervenes and the woman conceives, but the beloved son is then dedicated back to God, either in service or in sacrifice.

Sarah Rodrigues Brandon

Sarah Rodrigues Brandon (1798-1828) was born poor, enslaved, and Christian on the island of Barbados. By the time of her death thirty years later she was one of the wealthiest Jews in New York and her family were leaders in Congregation Shearith Israel. This entry explains Sarah’s life journey and highlights how her story relates to that of other women of mixed African and Jewish ancestry in early America.

Louise Glück

Louise Glück, American poet, essayist, and educator, is the recipient of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature, as well as numerous other awards for her writing; she also served as poet laureate of the United States from 2003 to 2004. One finds the personal, the mythological, and the Biblical woven intricately throughout Glück’s oeuvre.

Episode 31: Single Mothers By Choice (Transcript)

Episode 31: Single Mothers By Choice (Transcript)

Episode 31: Single Mothers By Choice

In this special Mother’s Day episode of Can We Talk?, host Nahanni Rous speaks with three single mothers by choice: Lizzie Skurnick, Naomi, and Wendy Shanker. These women felt motherhood should not be contingent on partnership and instead started families by themselves. More and more women are deciding not to wait for the perfect partner, and are happily having babies on their own via adoption, intrauterine insemination, and in vitro fertilization.

Episode 4: Mothering (Transcript)

Episode 4: Mothering (Transcript)

Hannah Gadsby and Omi

How Hannah Gadsby Helped Me Reclaim My Omi’s Story

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

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

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.

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