Stereotypes of the Jewish Mother
A Jewish Mother is seen as sacrificing yet demanding, manipulative and tyrannical, devoted and ever present. She loves her children fiercely, but does she nag. . The Yiddishe Mama was a balabusta, a sentimentalized figure, a good mother and homemaker, known for her strength and creativity, entrepreneurial and hard work, domestic miracles and moral force. She has faced centuries of anti-Semitism plus the challenges of immigrant life. The Yiddishe Mama reminds Jews of the Old World and was synonymous with nostalgia and longing.
While the Yiddish Mama and her selfless child rearing contributed to the success and the upward mobility of the American Jewish family, the Jewish mother stereotype didn’t fare well in the cultural shift. As she rose into the middle class,, the Jewish mother was represented as entitled and overbearing, showy and loud. She became the scapegoat for Jewish ambivalence.
The latest headlines and cultural trends seem to suggest that motherhood is in a state of crises. We are either leaning in or abandoning our kids to nannies, or we are opting out to stay at home. We are obsessing over whether we can have it all, whether breast is best and whether dads matter. We’re Helicopter Moms, Tiger Moms and Lazy Moms. We have inspected, dissected and critiqued these various forms of mothering. Yet the stereo type of the Jewish mom sits untouched, unexamined and unquestioned.
This oversight means scores of Jewish mothers find themselves with no recognizable public role model, no realistic figure with whom to identify. The borscht Bubbe may be familiar, but she doesn’t describe or speak to our modern realities. And yet, there is a need to identify, to honor, that which we love, to feel pride in our heritage. How can we identify ourselves in a way that is authentic, empowering and relevant?
Jewish mothers in the 21 century are embracing traditional practices and rituals, walking away from those that don’t make sense and creating new ones along the way. We are always seeking and questioning the best way to parent, balance our life decisions with shifting social norms, always trying to do the right thing for our children and for ourselves. We struggle with what it means to be contemporary mother and to be a Jewish mother today.
Yet we remain Jewish mothers. We hang in there because we find great meaning in our shared history and tradition. We find joy in welcoming our children and celebrating holidays, comfort in enjoying the foods and music of our childhood and communities and healing in our time of grief. Or maybe we stick with it because our mothers did or because they didn’t. Whatever the reason, our journey through motherhood and Judaism can be exciting and empowering, connecting to our past and our values (even if we find more questions than answers) can help us in an age of seemingly endless possibilities for shaping a life and raising children.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY
We watched the events from Washington DC in the last 24 hours with dismay but also steely resolve to pursue peace and justice as our sacred tradition demands. What we witnessed is unparalleled since the Civil War. The violent crowd, storming into the U.S. Capital and attacking the two Houses of Congress. This is an outrage. The Mishnah teaches us that we must always pray for the government. It is imperative that the Jewish community, stand together as one. We must not allow political division to undermine the unity of our community
May God restore peace to our nation, and may God bless America.
Prayer for our Country
Our God and God of our ancestors, we invoke your blessing upon our country, and upon the leaders of our nation, and of our communities. Inspire all who lead and serve to conduct their affairs faithfully and with devotion to justice. May peace and security, happiness and prosperity, right and freedom abide among us. Unite the inhabitants of our country, of all backgrounds and creeds, to banish hatred and bigotry, to safeguard our noblest ideals, and to preserve the institution which nurture liberty. May this land under Your Providence be an influence for good throughout the world, helping to unite all peoples in peace and freedom, and bringing closer to fulfillment the vision of Your prophets; “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” “For the work of the righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness calm and confidence forever.” AMEN
“Those who slander us shall
Have no hope, and all their
evil ways be gone (lost)
We are looking forward to many more wonderful years here at Temple Beth Shmuel- Cuban Hebrew Congregation. Contrary to what you have heard as awful continuing gossip we will ALWAYS be Temple Beth Shmuel – Cuban Hebrew Congregation of Miami Inc. You have heard we would close many years ago but we remain functioning and we will continue to keep our doors OPEN to the community. I thank you for your support and look forward to 2021, in which we will share and participate in many cultural, educational and social events in our beautiful sanctuary and newly renovated starlight Olemberg Ballroom.
Stay safe, distance and always wear your mask.
Becky Kobrowski, President and the WL Board
Now is the time to find the spiritual connection inside, not inside a physical structure, but inside ourselves. The community will connect with the help of technology. But we must also find the way to create our own spiritual connection. Perhaps we can make the environment in our personal home help ignite the spirit. For some candles, artwork and religious symbols could help decorate the environment, and feel like a personal sanctuary. For some it might be the presence of family or friends in the same room, or even over a computer screen. Many will want to take a quiet time before or after the recorded services, contemplating the previous year and the next year, meditating on the hopes, dreams, expectations and potential surprises the world offers. We take time to remember the blessings and the challenges, while trying to feel blessed by both especially this year. We are truly challenged to make our home our sanctuary. Let us see Hashem before our eyes, in our home and in our hearts. Starting from such holy hearts, holy homes and holy minds, together we will make it a very sweet New Year.
This year will be like no other NEW YEAR. Nobody can underestimate the impact that the Coronavirus pandemic will have as we observe the High Holidays this year. This current situation with COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges to almost every aspect of our lives, and the way we worship is no exception. It has become necessary to envision this year’s High Holiday services differently. Usually we are excited to embrace each other in a full room, singing and praying together, wishing each other a Happy New Year. Keeping all our members safe and healthy has become a bigger priority.
Even though our community will not be able to worship together, physically, we have been working hard to make sure that The Cuban Hebrew Congregation members and our broader Jewish community can have a meaningful worship experience this year. Rabbi Stephen Texon will lead services of Slichot, Rosh Hashana, Kol Nidre , Yom Kippur and Simchat Torah. The services will be prerecorded. You will be able to click on to each service. High Holiday books will be made available upon request for you to use at home. You will be able to check out the prayer book and return it after the High Holidays.
We have begun to work on our Yiskor Book. (In loving memory of our dearly departed) We are counting on your participation as you have in the past. All forms and payments must be sent in by September 6, 2020 to secure that your names will be published.
Countless times, calamities either initiated by people or nature, has turned our world upside down. And we continue to survive and thrive. And we do this due in large part, to community members coming together to support each other. Sometimes horrible catastrophes have led to new ways to improve the world.
Perhaps the isolation we experience due to the Coronovirus can lead us to new ways to reach out and connect with each other. Part of the Torah reading on Yom Kippur states “I set before you, life and death, blessing and curse… Choose life! (Deut 30:19) In the midst of our most difficult times, may we discover some blessings, especially this year!
Women’s League President
Cuban Hebrew Congregation of Miami, Inc.
Cuban Hebrew Congregation of Miami, Inc. 1700 Michigan Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33139 US
Copyright © 2021 Cuban Hebrew Congregation of Miami, Inc. - All Rights Reserved.