Motherhood

Content type
Collection
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.

Rena Lubin and Her Mother as Young Girls

The Power of Personal Histories

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

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

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.

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox