Meet JewishMOM of the Week: Hevron’s Leah Hochbaum

Meet JewishMOM of the Week: Hevron’s Leah Hochbaum

Leah Hochbaum with 5 of her 6 children


Where did you grow up? We moved around a lot but mostly in New York and Montreal.

Where do you live? Hevron for the last 16 years.

How old are you? 40

How old are your kids? 19, 17, 14, 10, 5, 1

If you are a WM, what do you do? I’m a Pediatric Occupational Therapist. I work with kids with special needs and their families.

Outside of mothering, what do you most love to do? I love my work and learning new techniques and methods to help kids more. I love science and medical stuff- “ma rabu ma’asecha Hashem” (G-d, how wondrous are your creations)!

What school/university did you attend? I went to Bais Yaakov in Montreal for high school, then to Michala for 2 years in Bayit Vegan. I studied Biology and Psychology in Touro College in New York and then did my M.A. in Occupational Therapy at New York University.

How do you define yourself hashkafically? We are chassidim of R’ Shlomo Carlebach tz”l and R’ Meir Kahane tz”l. They both taught us to love every Jew and to love Eretz Yisrael. I guess you could call us National Religious but we don’t like labels!

How did you choose to live in Hevron? Before my husband and I made aliya, we made a pilot trip to Israel. We chose to only consider places to live where it would make a difference that another Jewish family would join the community – as it was a very difficult time in Eretz Yisrael with the signing of the Oslo Accords and many, many terrorist attacks.

We chose between Netzarim and Kfar Darom in Gush Katif and Hevron, but chose Hevron in the end because it just ‘clicked’ for us. What a holy opportunity!

Leah with her husband Rabbi Simcha Hochbaum


What is it like living in Hevron? It’s both very special and very regular. Day to day life is like anywhere else – we shop, cook, clean and take care of the kids like anywhere else. It is very important to people here to live a normal life – the kids go freely through the streets to their friends, and ride their bikes, etc.

On the other hand, we have many guests because my husband is in charge of all the Anglo tourism here and is also the chazan of the main minyan Friday night in the Me’arat HaMachpela – which is the Carlebach minyan. Hundreds of people come and sing and dance there and it’s very special.

Sometimes things get very intense here and you can feel like you are living in an action movie! But B”H that is normally not the case and we can enjoy the holiness of being so close to our “grandparents.”

What’s your favorite part of being a mom? I enjoy hanging out with my kids – we do so many fun things together! They are funny and cute and smart and I enjoy the smiles on their faces!

What’s the toughest part, for you, of being a mom? There are times like in the evenings that things can get very intense – everybody needs me to do something for them all at once, and I try to divide myself into a million pieces to do it all. But when they all go to bed happily it is all worth it!

What’s the best advice for moms you’ve ever received? When I had my first baby I was in the middle of graduate school and it was very challenging. I was told, “Take your baby to bed! He will sleep and you will sleep!” And that advice saved me!

Leah's autistic son (center) with siblings


Can you tell us about your special needs child? My son who is 17 is autistic. For many years my kids would ask us why we don’t have more kids in the family (our family is relatively small for Hevron – where the average family is 8-10 kids). I would answer them that raising Y is like raising 5 kids!

Raising an autistic child can be very demanding and challenging. He has so many needs both medical and education/behavioral. When he was little he would run away and the soldiers here would all go looking for him – even the Arabs would bring him back. He was always drawn to holiness and would also try to run away to Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount) when we would go to the Old City. It was very scary!

Y. is a sweet and special boy who loves to sing and cook and sculpt beautiful ceramic creations – we enjoy him very much! They always say that everyone has their ‘pekele’ to carry. B”H we have such a sweet and special one who also gives us so much naches!

How did you hear about JewishMOM.com? From Facebook friends

How long have you been reading JewishMOM.com? About 6 months

What’s your favorite part of JewishMOM.com? There are always great stories that are really moving and can make my day!

If you would like to contact Leah for support or advice on raising an autistic child you can contact her directly at simchaleah@gmail.com
Meet the previous JewishMOMs of the Week:
Jerusalem’s Yehudit Levy
Seattle’s Sara Gallor
Maaleh Michmas’ Rachael Masri
Baltimore’s Sheva Givre

Related posts:

This Week's Mommy Peptalk: Magical Moments
You have HOW MANY Kids?!
The Secret to end the Suffering

5 comments

  1. How inspiring is this mom of the week article!! All of them, thanks Chana Jenny for this brilliat and moving read!!I look forward to them each week- it really gives so much strength to be part of such a holy womanation! Yishar Coach to all Jewish Moms!

  2. I have always been drawn to live in Hevron but have not had the courage… What an amazing woman and mother with such positive energy and love for her portion. Truly, truly inspiring.

  3. Hey, I stayed at your house! Truth be told, I don’t actually remember you and I’m sure you don’t remember me…It was Shabbat Parshat Chayei Sara nearly 9 years ago and there were A LOT of people there. But I do remember thinking what an amazing and calm hostess you were for having all of your husband’s students as well as a myriad of other guests. And your husband was infectious in his enthusiasm for…pretty much everything! It was in incredible, inspirational and very intense Shabbat – one that will stay with me for a long, long, time. Thank you (if I didn’t thank you then)!
    PS – My roommate of back then is your husband’s cousin. That’s how we earned the privilege to stay with you.

  4. Hadassah Aber

    this is a great feature of your website. I am sure you will not run out of amazing moms to profile – they are everywhere! so inspiring.

  5. You deserve much credit. Thank you for sharing so honestly. It helps us all.

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