May 10, 2007
The new Jewish mother
Many women are carving out new territory, but some are embracing qualities they once eschewed in their own mom
(Page 3 - Previous Page)There have been some minor improvements in the media, like the hippy Dharma, in "Dharma and Greg," or Barbra Streisand's oversexed mother in "Meet the Fockers." Actresses like Rachel Weisz and Natalie Portman are openly proud to be Jewish, Hyler said, also pointing to characters, even minor ones, who break the stereotypes, like "Everwood" introducing a Jewish family and an elegant Jewish mother, or the young daughter in the hit series, "Brothers and Sisters," who longs to know her Jewish identity beyond being just "secular humanist."
Antler points to Tova Feldshuh, who plays a Jewish mother character in "Kissing Jessica Stein," a movie about a Jewish girl's flirtation with being a lesbian (and honored for it by the MorningStar Commission).
"Judy Stein [the mother] is immediately presented as a manipulative, overprotective Jewish mother - however, she's revealed in the film to be a caring, nurturing woman who understands her daughter's needs," Antler said. "The mother is a caricature, but then you get inside the character, and you can see the real positive traits of the Jewish mother. That kind of character can be copied in any medium."
The new Jewish mother indeed exists, Antler said. "and I think it needs the next generation of writers and performers to describe and put this into our cultural vocabulary. Let's see her. That's what we're waiting for. That's what I look forward to."
Click BIG ARROW for Antler interview