Are You My (Jewish) Mother?

“What does he do for a living?” “Did you eat?” “When are you going to give my grandchildren?” “Are you sure you want to eat that?”

These questions, they’re punchlines to jokes. So is the stereotype of the Jewish mother. But it’s often more accurate and bitting than we dare to talk about.

Our 2013 article that asked to describe was poignant and funny, but even more so because we have a hard time talking about our Jewish mothers in more than 6 words.

I’m curious about how we deal with these women who gave birth to us. When I read this article about the ‘Crazy Jewish Mother’, this line in ‘Stop Lol-ing at my Crazy Jewish Mom’ resonated with me ‘It’s time to take a serious look at the damage the “Crazy Jewish Mom” is doing to her own daughter and to all of our daughters, and not just write it off as humor.’.

Because we talk about the damages and the joys of our mothers (Jewish or otherwise) clandestinely. I’ve had many such conversations in the dark. And whenever I wanted to make art or write about it, it felt so verboten.

So I want to create a safe space for that conversation. And I want to hear your stories. Send me stories anonymously (or not!) about the things your mothers say and how they affect you. Which of your Jewish mother’s questions cut the deepest?

I want one anecdote, of something that scarred you and one thing that your Jewish mother said that really built you up. If you can, record yourself (just a voice memo on your smartphone in a quiet room).

Send me your Jewish mother stories, anonymously, to zaltzman@forward.com by May 3rd. I will create illustrations and animations for as many as I can before Mother’s Day. Let’s start this conversation..

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Are You My (Jewish) Mother?

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