I come from a family of strong women, and my mother is the strongest woman I know. Holder of a PhD in Jewish education, she has created an utterly loving and functional family of uber-educated, smart, fun and happy Jews. Her students in every context, whether familial or professional, regard her with a combination of awe and fear.
When I was in high school, my mother was principal of a synagogue Hebrew school, and she asked me to fill in at the last minute for a teacher who would be absent. I realized seconds into the class that obviously, the regular teacher had had a nervous breakdown. The class was full of little third grade assholes who cared much more about being smart asses than being smart. I tried teaching them Jewish history, but to no avail. It was like something out of Dangerous Minds, but with braces and Benetton as opposed to gang signs and guns.
At one point, though, my mother walked in to give me a message. The second she appeared at the door, the little jerks ran back to their seats and sat ramrod straight in silence. My mother silently appraised the class and then left.
One jerk raised his hand. “She’s SCARY. Do you know what we call her, Jordana?”
Sitting on the front desk in that affected teacher-but-I’m-still-cool position, I raised my eyebrows. “What?”
He smiled. “The Terminator.” Everyone laughed.
“Do you know what *I* call her?” I said, leaning forward as though to divulge a confidence.
“No! What?” the class responded as one, eager for new dirt.
Taking a breath for dramatic effect, I said, “Mom.” Read the rest of this entry →