My Daughter’s Family Photos

My Daughter’s Family Photos

On Sunday, I traveled to Maayan’s high school for a mother-daughter event. In her 9th-grade classroom, all the mothers sat beside their daughters and introduced themselves. As far as I could tell, Maayan is the only girl in her class with a mother born outside of Israel. And if my BT-radar was accurate (as it usually is), the only daughter of a baalat teshuva as well. Not that that bothers me, I’m used to being highly unusual from the high schools of my other two daughters.

But it did remind me how different I am, and what a different kind of family Maayan is growing up in.

After dinner, Maayan and I walked over to her dorm room. Beside every bed, every girl had put up a bunch of photos of her family.

The girl next to Maayan has put up photos of herself beside her 7 siblings and her mother and father, the rabbi and rabbanit, and another photo with AAALLLL the cousins (I didn’t count, but there were at least 80) and Savta Rivka (she’s the one with the short sheitl) and Saba Yosef (in the black kippah) from last Pesach.

And beside Maayan’s bed? There is the photo of herself beside her 7 siblings, and her father and mother, the rabbi and rabbanit (LOL!), and another photo of her adorable half-Chinese cousin, Noam Suyuen, and her German-Catholic half-cousin (and best friend), Kosmea, in tank top and shorts, and an assorted array of family members of various ethnic backgrounds and religions and levels of Jewish observance.

And I felt so proud of my daughter, Maayan, who manages to love our complex and colorful family just about as much as she loves being a Jew.


  1. Mina Gordon

    Very special daughter of very special parents!!

  2. Yasher koach

  3. Roberta Carasso

    Thank you Jenny for that wonderful article and the truth that in today’s world of Baale Tschuvas, there are many types of Jews and non-Jews who may be found in these newly formed families. We have them in ours, and it is inevitable as the combinations of people reflect the various directions people are going in as they find their way to Hashem.

    Maybe someday there will only be Jews in a family, and that would be great, but it is also wonderful how non-Jews break into the family circle and join hands, becoming one with the family as they too accept a Torah life. At that point, no one needs to care about their previous backgrounds, color of their skin, or ancestry. The process of becoming and joining, and living a Torah life, to be connected to Hashem is all that matters.

    Thank you, Chaya Rivka

  4. Hi
    what a wonderful article. you should be proud of her may you have contiuous nachat from her and the rest of your children.

  5. I think it’s really admirable that she is not embarrassed or ashamed about her non Jewish cousins or not frum relations when surrounded by the more ffb types.

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