Jewish mothers worth a mention for Mother’s Day

The 'Post' compiles list of 12 hard working and dedicated Jewish mothers from around the world.

Former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni_370 (photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
Former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni_370
(photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
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 the world.
In keeping with this, The Jerusalem Post has decided to compile its own list of 12 Jewish mothers worth a special mention for 2012.
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:
1) 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.
2) Tzipi 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 sons.
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 freedom.
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.
8) 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 children.
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 failed marriages.
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.