Family & Education

Need a Jewish mum? We can help

In these difficult times, we all need a bit of Jewish mothering, reckons Angela Epstein. So she and some friends have started a podcast.


The silence, save for the occasional slurp, was deafening. Having often been asked by colleagues what “Jewish” chicken soup really tastes like, I brought a freshly made pot into the office . It was a huge hit. (Notwithstanding an errant kneidal, skittering down the corridor). Afterwards one chap joked that he’d had more than soup. He’d had a taste of being Jewish mothered too.

Sharing this memory with two of my closest friends — dentist Lynne Dover and Noemie Lopian, a former GP — it seemed they too had experienced such moments. In fact Lynne took so much homemade kuchen and strudel into work, she was nicknamed “the feeder”.

As we , a thought flamed into life. With so much unhappiness and uncertainty in the world, could it be that everyone — regardless of race, religion, gender or domestic situation — really could do with a bit of Jewish mothering?

The answer, we concluded, was yes. So with the help of our friend and technical wizard, Phil Salter we’ve now launched a podcast, Jewish Mother Me.

Let me stress that this is not one of those preachy parenting podcasts where smug marrieds murmur about “feeling blessed”. We may be Jewish mothers ourselves — but this podcast is not about us.

Rather it’s an opportunity to share experiences and nuggets of wisdom curated from the Jewish mothers who came before us. Along the way we laugh (a lot) since we’re also brutally honest. Not least about the car-crash comments dished out by these frank, fearless women.

“We’re not saying everyone literally needs a Jewish mother,” explains Lynne, a mother of four herself. “Rather someone who is like her — a sounding board for moans, groans, gripes. Someone who can be the emotional epicentre of your world

“It’s someone you can turn to for advice,” adds Noemie, not only a mother, but also a grandmother (noch). “Someone who won’t be afraid to give straight answers — with kindness — but with truth too. We want those who listen to find it a hopeful, uplifting experience.”

As three flawed, exhausted and overburdened north Manchester girls — Lynne wanted to call the podcast “I’m tired” — we still look to our mothers for direction. My own mother passed away several years ago, but I frequently ask myself what she would do, when placed in a particularly challenging situation.

In each episode we take a subject and examine it through the prism of the Jewish mothers we have known. Could, say, their ability to settle a broiges (one of our most popular topics thus far) help solve quarrels in the wider world? Well, as my late mother used to say, you win more wars with honey.

Jewish mothers can be challenging. To let one into your life is to discover her alarming capacity to overfeed, and to interfere with her children’s lives at all ages. But it all stems from a place of profound affection, protection and wisdom. And if it’s flavoured with a little paranoia? Well, nobody’s perfect.

It’s this formidable mix that makes the Jewish mother so human — much more than all the stereotypes. In the coming weeks we hope to speak to lots of people — men and women, celebrities and ordinary folk — about the Jewish mothers they have known .

I do hope you’ll listen — after all, there are times when you may feel the need for someone to Jewish mother you. But unlike the real thing , the podcasts do have an off button. Enjoy!


Jewish Mother Me is available on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts and many more


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