Sharyn Mayer…..my two cents
Twitteleh and the Jewish mother…..There is a new version of twitter around called Twitteleh and it is really targeted to the Jewish mother, who is said to ask 3 basic questions of her children:
1. Where are you?
2. What have you eaten?
3. Are you wearing a sweater?
Now, this is all in fun of course. But there really is somewhat of a real definition of a Jewish mother and you don’t have to really be Jewish to be a Jewish mother.
The Jewish mother is a stereotype developed by Jewish comedians when speaking of their own mothers who were always depicted as nagging, controlling, overprotecting, interfering mothers even as their children entered adulthood.
The Jewish mother “typically” cannot figure out how to do anything technical, needs her sons to fix or change something when they come over, and asks all the questions that her children could care less about or never think about.
Examples: It is cold outside, did you put on a coat? Who came for dinner? What did you eat? Did they bring something? Do not drive down dark alleys once the sun goes down. When you enter an elevator, always look down. Did you watch that new show ‘” what’s it called?
While much of this may be true, the humor stems from the exaggeration of it all and it comes down to much more. It comes from the natural, nurturing demonstration of love a mother has for her child that to the outside world (and to their children) appears as endless, torturous caretaking of their offsprings’ welfare.
Anthropologist Margaret Mead had explained the Jewish mother stereotype, in part, as follows: “a woman intensely loving but controlling to the point of smothering and attempting to engender enormous guilt in her children via the endless suffering she professes to have experienced on their behalf. The Jewish mother stereotype, then, has origins in the American Jewish community, with predecessors coming from Eastern Europe. In Israel, where the geographical background of Jews is more diverse, the same stereotypical mother is known as the Polish mother.” It is said that the attributes of a Jewish mother transcends ethnicity and race and can be applied to mothers of many cultures and backgrounds.
It is sad that the woman often described in movies and literature as pushy, unattractive, unrefined and unintelligent has endured a long history in radio and television as warm-hearted, sensible and a moral guide for her family.
We don’t see “her” much in the movies and books anymore ‘” maybe, we should. Maybe, despite all the joking and negative depiction, the creation of Twitteleh will bring about a resurgence of the “jewish mother,” and with it, a whole new appreciation for the one who cares so much!