Mother’s day giveaways for Jewish (or Jew-ish) mothers

Mother’s day is the one holiday I’m not in charge of. The reason I’m not in charge of it is because after our first child was born, I gave some explicit instructions to my husband. “You realize,” I said, “that until the girls are much older you are going to be in charge of mother’s day, right?” So far this has worked out pretty well. Surprisingly well, in fact, considering that my beloved husband is not much of holiday guy. Or much of a gift giving guy. (Hi, honey! I love you ANYWAY.)

While I don’t want to be responsible for picking out my own mother’s day gift, I’m happy to pick one out for you. So, I’m excited to offer a giveaway so enticing that I wish I could enter. (I can’t.) Local artist Emily Rosenfeld, who creates all sorts of hip and affordable Judaica (and other usable art) out of pewter is offering a beautiful picture locket with a Jewish star on the front, and ahava, the Hebrew word for love, engraved inside.


I have quite a bit of Emily’s work in my home. I have her shabbat candlesticks

and a child’s mezuzah

plus this cute peg


But my favorite item is a defective Miriam’s Cup that my friend bought me at a seconds’ sale, not noticing the little sign on it that said “unusable.” Much to our surprise, the first time we filled it with water at the seder it spouted a tiny stream of water. Which to me, doesn’t make in unusable. It makes it adorable. And a great seder prop.

not the actual leak


To enter this giveaway, tell me (at least) one thing you learned from your mother (Jewish or otherwise) that you are passing on (or trying to pass on) to your children. You have until the end of Mother’s Day to enter, and I will select one commenter at random to win one of Emily’s lockets. In the meantime, make sure to check out her site.

My friend Laurel Snyder also has a Mother’s Day giveaway going on. Hers is a lot more creative because, well, she’s Laurel. Go there to find out how to win a copy of Nosh, Shelp, Shluff, her new Yiddish board book.


As if having those beautiful kids weren’t enough of a gift…..

Happy Mother’s Day!

ps, Please check out my latest piece on And if you’ve made it this far in the post, here’s a secret. You get a second entry into my giveaway if you leave a comment on my essay there. (Shhhhh.)

Comments read comments(40)
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posted May 4, 2011 at 2:41 pm

My mom gave me her love of reading and libraries…and I am trying very hard to pass that on to my children.

Happy Mother’s Day to you!!!!

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posted May 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm

I learned the “life isn’t always fair and fair isn’t always equal”. This helped solve issues big and small in my life.

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posted May 4, 2011 at 3:02 pm

My mom has taught me about the importance of family and the joy of being a parent. Watching her with my daughter has felt like a window into what she was like when I was a child. That is inspiring to me as a mom!

And… Emily’s work is beautiful. Great idea!

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posted May 4, 2011 at 3:07 pm

My mother taught me the importance of being thoughtful. You would be surprised how surprised people react when you remember a child’s name or a person’s interest. And to top it off…it costs nothing!

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posted May 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm

My mom taught me to stand up for myself, always. Because if you don’t stand up for yourself, no one else will stand up for you.

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posted May 4, 2011 at 3:29 pm

My mom (who is Catholic but directly responsible for my being enrolled in a Jewish Day school, she even took Hebrew classes to help my brother and I with our Judaics homework), taught me about the value of hard work and sticking with a commitment. I don’t have a catchy slogan to accompany it, but when I was 20, she got me a job at her hospital doing the most god awful paperwork ever put on this planet. A job at the local JCC camp opened up, which I was desperate to take, and she refused to allow it… and she was right… just like she is about everything else, much to my chagrin. Another random funny fact about my Jew-ish mom is that when my Jewish grandmother died, the Rabbi came over to our house to get information for the service and asked what date she had died. It was my mom who answered, “The 11th of Av.” And when they asked how she knew that, she said that Tishah B’Av was two days before she died. :)

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NIna Black

posted May 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm

My Mom taught me everything I know about being a mom and being a mensch. The thing I think about every single day is that my mom taught me to read! I didn’t learn in school and was falling through the cracks but she caught me and by second grade I was the strongest reader in my class. When I was in elementary school she was the curriculum librarian at a state teachers’ college. I spent days off from school and holidays at her office, playing library lady. Now I’m a teacher and my specialty is early childhood literature.

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sara gabai

posted May 4, 2011 at 3:49 pm

my mother taught me to be “green” way back in the 60s, before it was such an “in” thing. She taught us to shut the faucet while we soaped the dishes (no dishwashers in Israel then) and not to take a leaflet from a museum or attraction if we didn’t want to read it.
I have tried to teach my kids this, and i think I have succeeded. They are now 24, 27, 31 and all very aware of the environment.

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posted May 4, 2011 at 3:52 pm

My mother taught me to be both structured and flexible at the same time. Having three kids under 5 makes this a requirement!

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posted May 4, 2011 at 3:56 pm

My mom taught me that family and traditions are important. I hope my sons learned this from me. I know my granddaughter (who is 4 and I help raise her) is learning it.

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Frume Sarah

posted May 4, 2011 at 4:06 pm

My grandmother, z”l, was a second mother to me. And certainly the lessons that I’ve learned from my mother, she learned from her mother (my grandmother).

Dignity. Do what must be done to preserve your dignity. In presentation, behaviour, speech, etc.

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posted May 4, 2011 at 4:07 pm

My mom told me to answer the question the child asks not the question you hear. This has come in handy particularly with questions related to sex that tend to make parents’ brains spin out into territory neither the child or parent is ready to enter. I also learned the following from my mom, not because she told me, but because she really couldn’t do this. So this is the antithesis of the above, but no less valuable. That is, don’t try to fix every problem your child brings to you; make sure the child feels heard by really listening and then affirming what they’ve told you. Then you can decide if advice or action are necessary. Oh yeah, don’t frown. Who needs those lines on your forehead!?

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Sara Rice

posted May 4, 2011 at 4:51 pm

My mother has taught me so many things. On of her favorite things is the love of reading. I have taught my children to love books and to love to read and create stories of their own. I have been reading to my children since they were 6 weeks old and now they are 10 years old. The joy of reading to a child never grows old.

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posted May 4, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Dude! You Perez Hiltonned a Miriam’s Cup!

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Danielle Gerber

posted May 4, 2011 at 5:24 pm

My mom was always taking care of everyone who needed help and that’s something I’m trying to pass on to my kids. We have several neighbors going through hard times right now and the boys enjoy helping me prepare and deliver snacks and meals.

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posted May 4, 2011 at 7:52 pm

My mother taught me, through instruction and example, to be friendly and kind to all people. Regardless of their job, background or why she was interacting with them, every person was truly equal and treated with kindness, patience and interest.

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Sarah Buttenwieser

posted May 4, 2011 at 7:59 pm

I love that my mother went to grad school (social work) & work. That she became a single parent (now remarried) & balanced so very much (work, parenting, doing tons in the community). I love that she wasn’t always available to me. I mean that! She’s modeled that parents need to be people (like the song in Free to Be You & Me, “People with children.”) I think her values shaped mine not just because she talked about them, but because she lived them; she modeled them. I am very conscious of trying to do the same (not sure I measure up, but I probably have my very own strengths).

Emily Rosenfeld? One of my favorite artists & one of my favorite people.

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Sarah Buttenwieser

posted May 4, 2011 at 8:03 pm

My mother went back to school. Got divorced. Went to work. Co-raised us. Gave (gives) tons to our community. Rather than talking values, she lived them. She modeled them. I hope to measure up!

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posted May 4, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Though not particularly religious or observant, I have come to learn that EVERYTHING my mother taught me had Jewish underpinnings. Every value, every ethic, every ideal, every lesson – all of them Jewish to the core. Thanks, Mom.

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posted May 4, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Mom always took care of the people around her, in so many ways. Her willingness to come to the aid of people in need taught me that your family is a wider circle than just the people you are most closely related to.

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posted May 4, 2011 at 10:06 pm

My mother died when I was 18 years old. She taught me that life is short, treasure the moment and take care of your health so you can care for your family. I wish I could celebrate Mother’s Day with my mom this week, but I am grateful that I am here to be with my daughters and Mother-in-law.

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posted May 4, 2011 at 10:29 pm

“Don’t bleed on the carpet!”

But aside from that, my mom did also teach me to help out other people whenever possible, because, as she said, “it’s a mitzvah.”

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lisa oram

posted May 4, 2011 at 10:38 pm

I don’t have a good answer – which makes me feel sad, because it is sad. But I am thinking about it, working on it, and maybe next year I will have something better to say. . . in the meantime, I love Emily Rosenfeld’s stuff and have bought many pieces for gifts, including something for each of my daughters, but I don’t have anything myself. Thanks for the chance.

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posted May 4, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Mom always made a big deal out of dinner, and it is one of those traditions that I’ve held onto without even thinking about it. We’ll never be one of those families with 4 different meals and mealtimes, and I’ll always appreciate that, and I think my girls do too. There’s always a time when we are all together.

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posted May 5, 2011 at 1:32 am

I learned how to love a child from my mother. To be a little tough, tougher when necessary, even when it hurts. To be gentle and loving puts these things into a child’s heart.

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posted May 5, 2011 at 7:56 am

My mother taught me how to not “sweat the small stuff”. Some things cannot be changed. Often, it is best to look inwards and adjust our reaction. Why are we giving others and their issues power to affect us?

Thanks for sharing this amazing artist with us – and, of course, for the giveaway:)

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posted May 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm

My mother taught me that women can do anything – the only limits are those we impose on ourselves.

Now off to google Emily Rosenfeld and learn more about her!

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posted May 5, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Because I never knew her–she died when I was a toddler–I learned how important it is simply to be there for your children, and I try to be always present and available to them at all times.

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posted May 5, 2011 at 4:55 pm

My mother taught me that “Real is better than perfect” and how amazing “real” can be once you get past striving for someone else’s idea of perfect.

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posted May 5, 2011 at 11:51 pm

My mother taught me to cook from scratch. But more importantly, she taught me to clean as I go.

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posted May 8, 2011 at 10:37 pm

My Mom taught me a lot of things but one of them was a love for reading and to be myself.

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Jen B

posted May 9, 2011 at 12:53 am

Beautiful, so glad I found you today, at the end of my wonderful Mother’s Day – hope yous was too!!

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Jen B

posted May 9, 2011 at 1:24 am

OK, tired too…I learned from my mom, and want to pass on to my kids, that they are so deeply and completely loved by me, and there is nothing they could ever do to change that. I always felt that from my mom, never doubted it, and I want my three little Beloveds to have that same feeling of true emotional security.

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tanya tolchin

posted May 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm

My mother taught me that having a creative outlet is important, and you don’t have to pick one thing and stick with it forever. Lots of creative pursuits are great too. Happy Mother’s Day!

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posted May 9, 2011 at 1:54 pm

My mom taught me to have strong Jewish roots so that after I go through my teen angst, college doubt and young adult cynicism I’ll have a strong tradition to fall back on and pass on to my own family. No doubt she would be proud of my Jewish home, weekly shabbat ritual and my daughter that will ONLY clean up to the sounds of Rich Recht.

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Emily Rosenfeld

posted May 10, 2011 at 8:48 am

I am so touched by all that’s been shared here. Thank you for the feature of my work, and for the forum to speak about our own mothers.

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posted May 10, 2011 at 9:45 am

I think that I’ll have my mom pick something out and give her my winnings as a late Mother’s Day present! Double win!

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posted May 10, 2011 at 12:48 pm

My Mom taught me the true meaning of unconditional love, that there is nothing stronger in this universe than a mother’s love, that it lasts an eternity….my dearest mom suddenly passed days after my sweet son was diagnosed with leukemia, I feel she gave the ultimate sacrifice as a mom & grandmother ,her life as she gave so selflessly when she was here,so that my son would be ok…(her last words to me was just that, she knew he would live a healthy long & happy life, so she was happy.) I was able to find her strength in being with my son 24/7 through his tough battle the last 2&1/2 years…he is now 240 days out from a bone marrow transplant & leukemia free…..Our angel from above & her eternal love keep us , & will forever guide us. Being a Mom is the single most incredible part of what defines me. Happy Mother’s Day..& Everyday to all!

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posted May 13, 2011 at 10:53 am

I learned very early in life from my mother what not to be and have always been blessed to be kind to animals, friend to all others & honest in everything I do. I passed that to my children & now to my grand daughter whom I love more than anything else. As she turns 21, I pray my lessons will stay in her heart with the blessing of God.
I have learned so much from your blog and look forward to it each day.
thank you.

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Jewish Judaica

posted August 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm

As usual, a fantastic post – keep going! I’m saying thanks from the thousands who enjoy your blog and don’t say anything!

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