Jewish Mothers, in Just Six Words

Announcing the 12 Winners of Our Mother's Day Contest

Jewish Mother: Dorothea Lange snapped this 1936 photo of “Mrs. Cohen,” the wife of a Jewish farm manager.
Dorothea Lange/Library of Congress
Jewish Mother: Dorothea Lange snapped this 1936 photo of “Mrs. Cohen,” the wife of a Jewish farm manager.

By Larry Smith

Published May 08, 2013, issue of May 10, 2013.
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You met a boy? Jewish, right?
— Olivia Bercow, 21, Miami Beach, about Julie Russin Bercow

Leaned out, leaned in, leaned on.
— Gabrielle Birkner, 34, New York, about Roni Lang

She’s older. Now I’m the worrier.
— Bob Wolf, 62, Chappaqua, N.Y., about Annette Wolf

You shtopt my soul with character.
— Edgar Weinstock, 71, Brooklyn, about Libby Weinstock

Unconditional love but hates my outfit.
— Karyn Gershon, 51, Wilmette, Ill., about Gloria Grossman

Strong, independent rethinker of tuna casserole.
— Ari VanderWalde, 35, Los Angeles, about Joan VanderWalde

She is lox to my schmear.
— Lauren Rosen, 42, New York, about Doris Rosen

Strudel, soup, challah — remembering the taste.
— Joan Hollander, 84, Siasconset, Mass., about Rose Swit

She’d divorce Dad for Jon Stewart.
— Danielle Klein, 20, Toronto, Ontario, about Wendy Klein

My father is the Jewish mother.
— Annette Powers, 40, Brooklyn, about Edward Powers

Welcome home. Want something to eat?
— Naomi Adland, 27, Brooklyn, about Gale Adland

You want I should worry yet?
— Rachel Gorman, 33, Morrisville, Pa., about Louis Astern

Larry Smith is the founder of SMITH Magazine, home of the Six-Word Memoir® project. He’s the editor of eight books of Six-Word Memoirs.

Visit forward.com in mid May for our Father’s Day six-word challenge. If we pick your six-word submission on your father or grandfather, you’ll win a copy of “Oy! Only Six? Why Not More?: Six-Word Memoirs on Jewish life.”


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  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
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