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May 11, 1984 - Image 28

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-05-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

28' Friday, May 11, 1984

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS -

BILL
MEYER
MUSIC
355-2721

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY
We have beautiful
Mother's Day Arrangements
Beautiful Roses & Plants
Also Beautiful Corsages

BY NECHAMA BAKST
Special to The Jewish. News

OPEN ALL DAY MOTHER'S DAY
Original Rose Florist Shop

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ADO

The Jewish mother:
every one's relative

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COMMENT

11 1 .1111115111.11.
. .ft• •

The Jewish mother has
been discussed, maligned,
frequently ridiculed, some-
times rejected and consis-
tently stereotyped. Now it
seems as though we intend
to banish her altogether.
For what difference is
there really, between the
modern Jewish mother and
her non-Jewish counter-
part? On first glance, you
have to admit, not much.
The question then appears
to be: Is she still -there
somewhere, or is she a vic-
tim of iconoclasm — im-
prisoned in the past as
surely as trolley cars and
Michigan Central?
In order to make a fair
judgment, let's first define
the term "Jewish mother."
Stereotypes and some
American Jewish writers
like Philip Roth would
have us believe that she is
essentially characterized
by two main ideas: a pri-
mary obsession with get-
ting the medical profession
into the family, and a sec-
ondary, but no less urgent,
obsession with food.

This article by Nechama
Bakst is especially relevant
this week with the
celebration of Mother's Day
on Sunday.

As a life-long observer of
a true "Yiddishe Momme" I
am happy to say that I can
categorically refute this
unworthy interpretation

.

The Jewish mother, as
we saw her in the past, de-
voted her entire life to her
family. She had little use
or need for the indulgences
of the outside world. Like a
queen in a castle, sur-
rounded by her family, she
was content.
In Alteh Bobbe, Charles
Angoffs poignant tribute
to his beloved
grandmother, the old
woman's philosophy is
encompassed in two short
sentences, ". . I've lived
long enough. All my chil-
dren are married happily,
and that's all a woman
really wants in life."

The Biblical mother
exemplifies this image.
King Solomon the Wise, in
his stirring poem, A
Woman of Valor (Proverbs
31) depicts a mother as one
who protects her home
from "snow," snow sym-
bolizing malignant intru-
sions. This, then, is the
primary role of the Jewish
mother — guardian of the
home, defender of her chil-
dren, upholder of the
Jewish tradition.

Peres pitches 'alternative'
policies in WJC address

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Jerusalem (JTA) — Labor
Party chairman Shimon
Peres has indicated a sharp
differentiation between the
policies he would pursue if
elected the next Prime
Minister of Israel and those
followed by the Likud gov-
ernment.
Meeting with the 20-
member International
Executive of the World
Jewish Congress (WJC)
here last week, Peres said
he would not insist that the
Camp David agreements be
the only basis for negotia-
tions between Israel and
Jordan; he would almost
immediately cut in half
Jewish settlement activi-
ties in heavily Arab-
populated areas of the West
Bank; and would im-
mediately end the confron-
tation in Lebanon by pul-
ling Israeli forces back to a
flexible line on Israel's
northern border.
Meanwhile, in Tel Aviv,
the 850-member Central
Committee of the Herut
Party last voted by secret
ballot for its 35-member
"panel" from which its can-
didates for the July 23 elec-
tions will eventually be
named. The committee had

to chose from among 140
party members who had of-
fered themselves as candi-
dates.
Former Defense Minister
Ariel Sharon accused Pre-
mier Yitzhak Shamir and
other top leaders of Herut of
trying to relegate him to the
bottom of the party's ticket.
Sharon named the "lead-
ing five" who are "out to get
me" in radio and television
interviews last week. In
addition to Shamir they are
Deputy Premier David
Levy, Defense Minister
Moshe Arens, Finance
Minister Yigal Cohen-
Orgad and former Finance
Minister Yoram Aridor,
currently secretary general
of the party.
In other election-related
news, former Defense
Minister Ezer Weizman has
urged the government to
"climb down off the with-
ered limb of its policy in
Lebanon and stop insisting
on linking an Israeli with-
drawal with a Syrian
pullback of troops."
Weizmann spoke last
week at the first press con-
ference of his new party,
Yahad, which he will head
in the July vote.

Even as recently as the
latter part of the 20th Cen-
tury, the great Jewish
humorist Sam Levinson
describes a mother "in the
great tradition of the He-
brew matriarch — a calm,
dignified, self-sacrificing
. . . wife and mother, ask-
ing nothing for herself. A
girl must look forward to a
domestic existence like
Mama's."
But, as society has
swung far in the opposite
direction, this traditional
view has come under at-
tack as too subservient, too
"unliberated," in fact, sim-
ply old-fashioned.

Inevitably, the Jewish
mother has emerged from
her glass tower as a woman
in her own right. Unlike
our own mothers, we are no
longer content to live
through our children, iso-
lated in our homes, at once
the protectors and the pro-
tected. Today, we want
more. We want to fulfill
ourselves as well, to carve
out for ourselves a niche in
society, not as wives or
mothers, but as women.

If this is the case, there
seems little hope but to let
the traditional image of
the Jewish mother dwindle
away until it finally exists
only in our memories and
in our literature, a faint
relic of bygone days.
But, are we ready for
that? Yes, the taste of self-
confidence and success is
indeed alluring. But at
what cost? As mothers,
Jewish mothers, are we
prepared to cast away gen-
erations of sacrifice for one
heady hour of pleasure?
The core of the Jewish
heritage is said to lie with
the Jewish mother. Even
"Mama Loshen," as we
often lovingly describe the
Yiddish language, alludes
to the mother's un-
equivocal position in the
home. As Leo Rosten states
in The Joys of Yiddish,
Hebrew was the father's
language, since the holy
books were in Hebrew, and
only Jewish males were
taught to read. Yiddish be-
came known as the
"mother tongue," the lan-
guage of the home.
Before we shatter one
more illusion, before we
carelessly dismiss our old
ways, let's be very certain
we aren't discarding some-
thing rare and precious as
well.
One Jewish mother has
very special meaning for
me, and I will always have
treasured memories of her.
I think my children- de-
serve to have these
memories, too.

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