In every stereotype, there is an element of truth. I recall my late mother ripping the heads off photos of boys who dumped me. My grandmother’s entire reason for living after the death of my grandfather, was “to move in” — with us. From her mission came stories and anecdotes only a Carl Reiner could write
Yes, my grandmother sounded selfish. But then we look beyond at Gram. A woman who bribed border guards to get to America before the Nazis took over, leaving her birth family behind — forever.
This is why I needed to look before the period, at the backgrounds, religion, and principles of these women. The joke had a predecessor. And without examination, the meaning — and truth — is lost.
Many Jewish Mother stereotypes are about intrusion, child-first suffocation, lack of boundaries. Yet these “traits” are also the very qualities: protection, education, nourishment and survival, during pogroms, throughout the Holocaust and other incalculable calamities, that have kept us alive and intact these 5,000 years.
In this work, I hope you will see the special soul of Jewish motherhood through the sacrifices, the extraordinary belief in the future through our children that Jewish women over the centuries have possessed. You will also read fascinating facts, anecdotes and yes, humor that was vital and kept us going while we were running — always running. Jewish women, simply — are funny.