My Almost 10th-of-Tevet Birth

My Almost 10th-of-Tevet Birth

My Hebrew birthday is tonight. I was born on the 11th of Tevet, a few hours after the fast of the 10th of Tevet (which we mark today) had ended. And a few days ago, my mind was wandering hither and thither, as usual, and it occurred to me how I was almost born on Asereh b’Tevet, but wasn’t.
But then it occurred to me that while I was born on the 11th of Tevet, my mother was in labor with me for much of the fast day. For a long, hard 22 hours. According to Freedman-family lore, the birth was so long because “Jenny just couldn’t decide what to wear.”
I gave birth once on a fast day, to my daughter Tsofia Bat Tsion, who was born on the 17th Tammuz. That was a hard birth for me, my most difficult one of all. And I’ve always thought that was connected to the fact that I gave birth on a day drenched with immense suffering, so giving birth on that day I had to suffer a little bit too.
A few weeks ago I had one of the most mindblowing experiences of my life. At the recommendation of a friend (who had been recommended to do so at the recommendation of her rabbi), I spoke with a Jewish astrologer.
Aside from glances at the vague astrology forecasts in the comics section of the Baltimore Sun as a teenager, I’ve never had any interest in astrology.
But this astrologer I spoke with a few weeks ago, based only on the time and place I was born, knew everything about me. To a tee.
From the moment I was born, it turns out, it was destined that family and home would be the center of my life, as well as inspiring and motivating others through writing and speaking (“You want to share, to be motivational, inspirational, to give people hope, to give them the feeling that everything will be all right. If God sent a motivational speaker to this planet, it’s you!). I was destined to love learning, as long as I find it meaningful, inspirational (“you were born to learn. Non-stop learning. Yay, School! But it has to be something that inspires you. You go outside and meet a neighbor and find the story, you find wisdom unfolding in life, just by leaving your house, all the time.”
She knew that I was destined to write books and articles. She knew that I love being with people but also need solitary time to recharge, as well as daily exercise.
She knew that what gets me down is the ongoing conflict between my big idealistic dreams and my feet-on-the-ground inner-Capricorn that insists I be realistic and keep my pursuits small and doable. The key to dealing with this inner conflict, she explained, is noticing and appreciating my small accomplishments.
She knew that what makes me unique is that I am a mother who takes care of herself, nurtures herself, and the greatest service I can provide to others is to teach them how to take care of themselves as well. She knew that I connect with Hashem by noticing the way He shows up in my life through non-coincidental coincidences, and through talking with Him in my own words.
“You want to share, have to share. You feel a deep desire to share the things you care about, what inspires you. You want to give people a higher purpose for life. And positive thinking: things will be OK, let’s reframe it, expand your vision. A real making-lemonade-from-lemons person.”
This astrologer, as she read my birth chart to me for 2 whole hours, knew me better, it seemed to me than anyone else. Better even, quite possibly, than I know myself.
And all this, all these blessings that enable me to be me, were thanks to my mother who labored and labored all through the 10th of Tevet until that exact moment I was meant to be born.


  1. Beautifully written article as usual.
    Would it be possible to share the contact information for the Jewish astrologer?

  2. Totally describes how you inspire all of us Jewishmoms. She must have read your blog before your consultation;)

    • thought the same thing!!!

    • about 10 minutes into the consultation I said, “Wait, did you google my name before we spoke!?” But she just looked baffled by the question. My friend (about whom there’s little info online) who went to her was equally blown away by the accuracy of her reading.

  3. i also know a couple of people who had a consultation with her and said good things about their experience.

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