STRENGTH WISDOM COMPASSION
Published by Chronicle Books
Jewish Mothers is a documentary photography book which celebrates today’s American Jewish mothers. Photographer Lloyd Wolf and writer Paula E. Wolfson have captured the rich diversity of America’s Jewish mothers in compelling personal stories and poignant black-and-white photographs.
Each woman shares her life experience, her dreams, struggles, hopes, pains; pleasures, traditions, and transitions, her memories of her mother, child-raising, and what it is to be Jewish. Women describe their labor pains and their euphoria at giving birth. A few paint in cautious words their image of God. Older participants recall the sadness they felt watching their immigrant mothers singing opera over the stove and slaving in sweatshops. There is great depth in these memories, fertile wellsprings salted sometimes by tears. Dr. Rosalyn Sussman Yalow, likes to joke about her Nobel Prize in biomedicine by shrugging her shoulders and saying “Bronx housewife makes good.” Sydell Laskowitz, who became a bat mitzvah at 101, contends “I have overcome everything.” Midwife Alice Bailes welcomes newborns into the world singing from Psalms- “From the narrow place I call to God and God answers me in this great expanse of space.” “Being a mother is its own religion.” asserts comedian Lotus Weinstock, “You must pay full and utter attention.
In the book’s foreword, Anne Roiphe asks “what makes a Jewish face beautiful?” and concludes that “whatever the purpose of the Jewish existence, whatever we are driving towards, whatever we mean to our God and to our world, Jewish women are essential to the tale.”
Please read their stories. Look into their eyes. Think of your own story.