The Role of Jewish Mothers in the Start Up Nation

The French singer, Georges Moustaki; wrote a song about Jewish mothers: “on the alert, worried, emotional, excessive, gentle, attentive, possessive, active, tender, naive and pure as living water, Jewish mothers”.

And if you’re thinking, he had a sort of bias that made him to make such a statement, consider the fact that in 2015, at IDC Herzliya, Yossi Vardi, known in some quarters as Israel’s biggest investor and entrepreneur; made a very surprising statement:

“The secret sauce of the Israeli High Tech is the Jewish mother”.

Who is a Jewish Mother?

Vardi says that when a Jewish mother is asked for the age of her sons, she answers: “the engineer is 5 years old, while the scientist is 7 years old”.

This is an avid pointer to the fact that from very early in life, Jewish mothers decide what will become of their children.

Possessing an undisputable amount of tenacity, once the career decision is made (usually a little before birth), there is no option of going back.

Vardi also states that it is not mandatory to be a woman, nor to be Jewish in order to be a Jewish mother.

Indeed, in the late 1960s, a Harvard professor named Rosenthal and a San Francisco elementary school principal named Jacobson return the results of a study that would change our vision of performance and education. They asked teachers to give their students an IQ test at the beginning of the year. The two researchers made the teachers believe that a handful of students were well above average; revealing those same names to the teachers. At the end of the year, the students took a second IQ test.

This time, a “miracle” had occurred: the supposedly gifted students had better scores than the class, this time for real.

Additional expectations from the teachers and no doubt; the special attention which they got had made those supposedly more gifted students top their classmates. This effect is also called the Pygmalion effect, named after Pygmalion, a sculptor of Greek antiquity, who sculpted a statue of such beauty that he fell in love with it!

Why does a mother become a Jewish mother?

Why are they so “on the alert, worried, emotional, excessive, gentle, attentive, possessive, active, tender, naive and pure as living water”?

Could it be that they had observed their mother to possess similar characteristic traits?

Were they simply reproducing a well-known scheme?

Or, is the answer a lot sadder than we would like to think about?

Take a unit of the Israeli army at random. You will find young people with parents or grandparents from Russia, Ethiopia, Morocco, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Iraq, etc. What’s the common point between these young people? Some people wanted to hunt and kill their parents or grandparents. Today, they are again faced with some peoples’ burning desire to hunt and / or kill them, because they are jews, again.

Jewish mothers, by their protective instinct want their children to become more than just a Yiden (Jews in Yiddish). Not to be called “The Jew” during the next disaster, they add a qualifier Dr., Master, Nobel, Star… Maybe so, he / she will not go first. Success, popularity, wealth are not just performance indicators. They are the bulwarks that our Jewish mothers build for this cursed day when the wind will turn.

Every year on Passover night, Jewish people sing Veh’i Sheamada:

« And this is what kept our fathers and what keeps us surviving. For, not only one arose and tried to destroy us, rather in every generation they try to destroy us, and God saves us from their hands ».

Our mothers may be the « what »…

They are our heroes, and worthy of celebration at all times; and so, to our Jewish mothers, our grandmothers and the women in our lives who chose to never give up on us, but instead, to put us on the right path in life; you are simply the best!