Over the past week, in time for Mother’s Day on Sunday, articles have appeared
paying tribute to some of the hard-working and dedicated Jewish mothers around
In keeping with this, The Jerusalem Post has decided to
compile its own list of 12 Jewish mothers worth a special mention for
The criteria are simple: they are all women, all Jewish, all living
and all inspiring in one way or another.
Let’s here it for the moms:
Ada E. Yonath – Not only did Israeli crystallographer Ada Yonath win a Nobel
Prize for Chemistry in 2009 but in doing so, she became the first female Israeli
Nobel laureate (out of ten previous winners) and the first women from the Middle
East to be honored in this way. Yonath is also the first woman in 45 years to
win the prize, which has only been awarded to three other women before her. The
award-winning scientist lives in Israel and has one daughter.
Livni – She might be taking a hiatus from politics but over the past few years,
former Kadima party chairwoman and opposition leader Tzipi Livni has been touted
as being among the most influential and powerful women in the world. Livni, who
has held an assortment of government posts and is one of the few women to be
involved in attempting to negotiate a peace deal, lives in Tel Aviv and has two
3) Karen Zuckerberg – The mother of the man who changed the way the
entire world communicates, Karen Zuckerberg must have done something right when
she was raising Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Recognized last year by
The Jerusalem Post as one of the most influential Jews in the world, there is no
doubt that Facebook, being Israel’s most popular social networking site, has a
lot of influence over the Jews.
4) Barbara Levy Boxer – In looking for a
US-based Jewish female politician, Democratic California state senator Barbara
Levy Boxer stands out. Originally elected to Congress in 1982, she became
a senator ten years later. According to her official biography, she is
the only senator to preside over two House committees simultaneously and she
overwhelming won reelection in 2004. She is known for her very liberal views in
domestic politics and her vocal support for Israel. Boxer has two
children and a few grandchildren.
5) Deborah Feldman – She might be the
youngest mother on this list but author Deborah Feldman has achieved a great
deal over the past year. Perhaps her most important contribution to the
Jewish world thus far is providing special insight into the secretive
ultra-Orthodox Satmar community via her first novel and memoir Unorthodox. The
book, which tells how as a young mother she managed to escape from that world,
made it onto The New York Times bestseller list earlier this year. She is
currently working on a second book and continues to help other young mothers who
want to leave the ultra-Orthodox community.
6) Aviva Schalit – Aviva
Schalit is the mother of Gilad, the former Israeli soldier who was kidnapped by
Hamas in 2006 and returned to Israel in a prisoner swap last year. During the
more than four years of her son’s captivity in the Gaza Strip, Aviva campaigned
relentlessly to get her son freed. Together with her husband Noam, she set up a
protest tent outside the prime minister’s official residence in Jerusalem and
maintained a vigil until her son came home. Never giving up hope, she traveled
the world to persuade influential leaders to help secure her son’s
7) Tovah Feldshuh – From Yentl to Golda Meir, Tovah Feldshuh is
known for her on-stage portrayal of some of the most famous Jewish
heroines. As well as winning a multitude of awards and accolades for her
various performances, in 2004 Feldshuh’s onewoman show Golda’s Balcony, the
story of Israel’s only female prime minister Golda Meir, became the
longestrunning show in the history of Broadway. She has two children.
Goldie Hawn – The Hollywood queen of comedy, Goldie Hawn never seems to lose her
good looks or humor. The actress, who is both a mother and a grandmother,
started her acting career in 1967 and went on to win an Academy Award in 1969.
What we most like about her is that she seems stable and in love with her
partner Kurt Russell and she is very, very funny.
9) Sherri Mandell – It
has been 11 years since her son Koby was murdered by terrorists not far from his
home in Tekoa but despite her own loss, Sherri Mandell has found a way to help
other victims of terror heal and turn their lives around. This
American-born, Israel-based author and activist has three other
10) Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg – An associate justice of the
Supreme Court of the United States, Ginsburg was recognized last year by The
Jerusalem Post as being among the most influential Jews in the world. Now
she is being recognized as an inspiring Jewish mother too. Sworn in as a judge
in 1993, Ginsburg is only the second women to hold such a position and the first
Jewish female justice. She has two children.
11) Shari Arison –
Millionaire Israeli mother Shari Arison seems to have it all. Not only is she
the richest person in Israel and the head of a multi-million dollar business
empire but she is included on the Forbes list of wealthiest people. However, it
is not always plain sailing for the mother of four who has had a string of
12) Israeli mothers – This last one is for all the
mothers in Israel, who for some reason do not get to enjoy Mother’s Day like
their sisters in the Diaspora. Israeli mothers work just as hard raising their
children and keeping their households in order as any other mothers but some
bright spark decided to replace Mother’s Day with Family Day, which might sound
like a big step forward for equality but what about some recognition for all
their dedication too? We are happy to have a Father’s Day to balance things out.