Mom’s 3 Kids: The Lawyer, the Professor, and the Housewife

Mom’s 3 Kids: The Lawyer, the Professor, and the Housewife

The day before Mom’s funeral, her rabbi set up a meeting with us to learn more about Mom for the eulogy.
And something I found really curious happened.
My brother said he credited Mom with his decision to become a civil-rights lawyer, inspired by her determination to make the world a better place, even carrying him to anti-War marches on Washington with him when he was just a baby.
My sister said Mom, as a female psychiatrist, helped her navigate her climb as a chemistry professor up the often-splintery academic ladder in a field that, like psychiatry, tends to be dominated by men.
And what about me? What did Mom do to inspire me to become a homemaker?

When I became a mother 22 years ago, I was finishing up an MA in non-profit management at Hebrew University. I hated hated hated leaving my baby behind.
I remember Mom sympathizing: “I remember how I also felt so awful when you were a little girl, sick at home, and I had to leave you to go out to take care of other people’s sick children!”
Around that same time Mom suggested,”Jenny, maybe you could stay home with your kids until they all finish kindergarten? That’s a good thing to do, I think.” (Though I don’t think Mom would have dreamt that 22 years later, in 2020, I would still have a child in kindergarten!:)
At that meeting before the funeral, I was struck by what a remarkable person Mom had been, to not only unequivocally accept and support all 3 of us in our diverse life paths of lawyer, professor and housewife, but also, by virtue of her personal example, to serve as a lighthouse guiding the 3 of us on our chosen paths in life. May Gila bat Yaakov continue reap nachas from all of her children and grandchildren from the World above.


  1. What a lovely insight into your mother’s influence on all three of you. And I laughed at this sentence: “Though I donโ€™t think Mom would have dreamt that 22 years later, in 2020, I would still have a child in kindergarten.”

    • thank you again so much for your visit during the shiva–and the tuna casserole:)

  2. Yehudit Sarah


  3. Ilana Kendal

    Such beautiful and inspiring words. Thank you for sharing so much of your mother in this time…I feel that I have had the privilege to ‘meet’ her and in so doing understand more deeply what you share with us. May you be comforted and may her neshama have an aliyah.

  4. What a beautiful tribute to your Mom, who sounds like she was an immensely beautiful person.
    may G-d provide you with comfort and consolation at such a difficult time.

  5. Your mother sounds like she was such a special person. Thanx for all your articles about her, so much to learn. All of them thought provoking and inspiring. May the inspiration you inspire be a zchus for an aliyas neshoma for your dear mother.

  6. Jenny, you might be a homemaker, but you overlook so much more! Besides having the hardest job of all (mother),the creation of ‘jewish mom’ gives inspiration, hope, chizuk, advice and comfort to thousands of Jewish women who reap its benefits. Your sensitivity to others is obvious. It might not be an academic degree, but don’t doubt that what you do inspires and supports so many women, and maybe makes their lives just that much better.

    You are a very special woman, perhaps to humble to realize!
    Shabbat Shalom…..

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