May 10, 2007
Oy vey! You should read what they’re writing about them—in books yet
(Page 2 - Previous Page)Her own mother might be the more stereotypical Jewish mother -- "Without me, you'd have no act," she would tell her daughter, who describes how her mother kept track of Judy and her siblings every minute as they were growing up. Ultimately, she finds the source of her mother's fear. And readers witness how her mother shifts from denying her daughter's sexual orientation to accepting it, maybe not bragging over the fact that her daughter has two beautiful boys with unknown donor fathers, but being quite the loving, doting, encouraging grandmother.
In her show, she seemed to inhabit the other women's beings as she presented their wide-ranging stories; she would identify them by profession and denomination, as she does here. She unfolds their tales of naming their children and recalling advice from their mothers; in their voices, she discusses intermarriage, guilt and God. In an epilogue, she advises readers to set up their own "25 Questions" coffee and rugelach parties and interview their mothers and grandmothers.
"Yiddishe Mamas: The Truth About the Jewish Mother," by Marnie Winston-Macauley (Andrews McNeel), celebrates Jewish mothers, including stories and quotes from well-known Jewish mothers.
Winston-Macauley, who writes the advice column, "Ask Sadie," and describes herself as a Jewish mother of a son and five stepchildren, refutes the stereotypes and has a good time with them, too. Her book is wide-ranging in looking at the experience of Jewish mothers, their accomplishments, identity and the jokes about them.
"The Portable Jewish Mother: A Hearty Serving of Oy Vey," by Laurie Rozakis, Ph.D. (Adams Media), dishes out all the Jewish mother stereotypes, yet is appreciative, sometimes funny. The book is filled with lists of surprising facts, quizzes, quotes, recipes, brief stories and a "Jewish Mother Face-Off," identifying Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Paula Abdul as Jewish mothers, Mia Farrow as not.
Rozakis is a professor of English and humanities at Farmingdale State University in New York, the author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Grammar and Style" and "Comma Sutra" and "the Jewish mother of two beautiful, successful kids."
"Waiting for Daisy: Five Fertility Doctors, an Oscar, an Atomic Bomb, a Romantic Night, and One Woman's Quest to Become a Mother," by Peggy Orenstein (Bloomsbury), is a memoir of longing, following the author's six-year trail -- beginning at age 35 -- through what she feels are all possible means to achieve her dream of motherhood. Many who are hoping to become Jewish mothers will identify with Orenstein's struggle and admire her relentless and resourceful nature -- and her blessed good fortune.
Along the way to finally giving birth to her beautiful daughter, Daisy, Orenstein, the author of "Schoolgirls: Young Women, Self-Esteem, and the Confidence Gap," goes through varied fertility treatments, visits an old boyfriend who has 15 kids, does research in Hiroshima that leads to a possible adoption, stuffs good luck charms under her mattress and stands on her head a lot to improve chances of conception.
I'm with Roth's mother (quoted by Antler) who, when asked for the umpteenth time after "Portnoy's Complaint" was published whether the character of Sophie Portnoy was based on her, said, "All mothers are Jewish mothers."
I'd even venture to say that all women, or many women, are Jewish mothers, whether they have children or not. It's natural to be concerned about the safety and comfort of others, and yes, to want to nourish and feed them and make sure they're wearing sweaters when it's cold.
1 | 2