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  • Writer's pictureJodi Samuels

Real Jewish Mothers

I have always been a working mom. I went back to work when my first child was 6 weeks old. I worked literally until my second child was born. I was so adamant to finish a project that Gavin sat in my office in Manhattan timing my contractions and we went straight to the hospital and I answered emails on my blackberry a few hours post birth.

I now travel frequently to NY for work. My husband also travels a lot. We have figured out the logistics and balance as a family. We spend lots of quality time when we are together and my kids know that we are hands on even when we are not home. I expect WhatsApp messages when they arrive at an after school activity, I check in multiple times a day and will set an alarm clock in the middle of my night just to check in that things are progressing on schedule on the other side of the ocean. Every morning my kids, nanny and Gavin have lists and schedules waiting in their messages. I definitely worry and nag like a good Jewish mother.

Last week I met one of my closest friends for dinner in Tel Aviv. We have always bonded on being professional working moms. She does the reverse commute of me, traveling from NY to Tel Aviv frequently. At dinner she was really upset. She had made a comment to a male work colleague about being a “real Jewish mother” and he responded “If you were a real Jewish mother you would not be away from your children!”

She responded to her colleague and here is an excerpt from the email below. I am sharing this because it resonates with me. I am also sharing this because I am outraged that in 2017 someone could say this to a woman. In the world of #metoo its time to #stopfemaleworkplacediscrimination.

Dear x

I am not sure what a “real Jewish mother” means for you but I can tell you that for me, it means the following things:

– Being a good role model for my two daughters and showing them what is possible, instilling in them confidence that their gender is not something that needs to hold them back, and that they can stand on their own two feet no matter what happens to them in life

– Openly communicating with them and listening to them so they know that I respect them, and demonstrating trust so they know that no matter where I am in this planet or beyond that I believe in them and that they always hear and feel my voice

– Teaching them Jewish values by keeping a kosher home, taking them to the synagogue every Shabbat, bringing them and the rest of the family together for all the chaggim and giving them a sense of identity, knowing where they came from so they have a guide and a compass no matter where they choose to go

– Taking care of their daily needs – play dates, doctor appointments, help with homework, food, school uniforms, coordinating all the after school activities, even from far away thanks to technology, and being fully present when we are together

There are plenty of dads who travel, you included, and I am sure you would not say they are not “real Jewish fathers”. There are also plenty of mom’s who do not travel but don’t give their children quality time and attention. We all do what we.need to do to bring parnassa home and when our children see that we are happy and confident, they end up happy and confident.

Originally published: November 6, 2017


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