What’s the difference between a Jewish Mother and a Rottweiler?
Eventually the Rottweiler lets go!
Let’s face it, Jewish moms have quite a few stereotypes to live up to, or live down. Apparently, we’re overprotective, we’re emotional, and we’re affectionate to the point of smothering.
These stereotypes have been all over TV and in movies: think “The Big Bang Theory,” “Saturday Night Live,” and “The Goldbergs,” to name a few. But these examples are funny, because they’re all done in a tongue-in-cheek, loving way—and they’re relatable. Usually the act
ors, or at least the writers, are Jewish.
I don’t really get offended by these portrayals, because being a Jewish mom is a broad spectrum that encompasses so many ways of caring. I know Jewish moms that are overprotective and some who encourage independence. I know some who smother with hugs and kisses and some who aren’t as affectionate. Bottom line, they all love their children and parent them in their own loving way. So I’m always up for a little Jewish mom humor.
That’s why I took a break from washing and folding the 200 pool towels I seem to have accumulated this summer to click on a link I saw in a Jewish Moms Facebook group. Someone had posted an article with a cartoon about Jewish parents–titled the “10 Parental Rules that turn Jewish Kids into Geniuses.” I clicked on it, expecting to be amused by jokes about hovering moms who forced their kids to study, and so forth. Instead, what I found was a list of inaccurate, offensive “rules” that made me really uncomfortable.
For starters, it insinuated that Jewish moms were better than non-Jewish moms because we let our kids get dirty, encourage independence, and don’t allow poor behavior–as if to say that basic manners and promoting healthy development are concepts non-Jewish parents know nothing about. This is equally insulting to everyone involved.
The article says, “Many mothers dream of a genius child. But despite all the tips and tricks on children’s upbringing, there is no definite rulebook on how to raise one. Jewish mothers, on the other hand, do not have to resort to psychology articles and parental forums, and their kids often turn out to be little geniuses.”
Then I really started to wonder: Who wrote this dreck?
Brightside.me claims they want to make the world a better place, one internet article at a time: “We always check to make sure our facts are straight; our sources are reliable and respectable. Everything we produce is made with attention and care. We only ever share with you the things which made us laugh, inspired us or touched our hearts. Everything we offer you is done with sincerity—we couldn’t do it any other way.”
Either they thought this was factually correct or they thought it was funny. I can’t decide which is worse.
Whether intended as humor or truth, it’s problematic stereotyping being perpetuated on the internet—and while that’s not a rare thing these days, it doesn’t make it right. And the comments are something else entirely, reaching an absurd new low. Some people actually believed this nonsense, even thanking Brightside for sharing it. Others, of course, blamed Jews for thinking they were better than everyone else—and chose hateful ways to express this. A few called it propaganda. The rest chimed in with what they think Jewish parents really are like.
It’s irresponsible. It’s factually incorrect. It’s insulting.
We have enough divisiveness and anti-Semitism in the world right now; let’s not perpetuate it with this drivel. If you see something like it, don’t share it. Instead, write to the publisher and ask them to take it down, or think twice before running anything of its ilk again.
I know how to stand up for myself, it’s a quality my Jewish parents taught me. It’s also a quality my non-Jewish friends have. Imagine that!