To my mothers...

So today isn't actually Mother's Day in Israel. "Mother's Day" in Israel has actually been renamed as "Family Day," and this year fell at the end of February. And it doesn't seem to be a big deal at all, based on the fact that I only know everything I just said in this paragraph from a Google Search and careful consultation of our Bank Leumi calender.

However, Mother's Day in the US is a big deal, and that is where both my mother and mother-in-law live. So I wanted to take this post to celebrate the wonderful women they are and to thank them for the ways they have helped me become Israeli. (They've helped me in more ways than that, but this is the focus of my blog, after all!)

Visiting Har Megiddo (Armegeddon) with my mother in December

To my wonderful mother-- thank you so much for...

  • Approaching my aliyah with unflagging enthusiasm and support.
  • Practicing reading Hebrew so that you can someday read children's books to hypothetical future Israeli grandchildren. :)
  • Teaching me how to live with curiosity, self-sufficiency, and a desire to self-educate.
  • Modeling positive thinking, frugality, and creative cooking!
  • Proving that it is possible to grow and change and learn even later in life.
  • Bringing me bulk supplies of Breathe-Right nasal strips when you came to visit in December. :) (Don't panic, potential olim-- they're available in Israel, too. But they're more expensive. If I could offer one suggestion to new immigrants, it would be that they don't bring a lift of furniture but DO bring several year's supplies of cosmetics and toiletries!)
  • Getting up early every morning so that we can say "hi" over AIM.
  • Serving as my employer and mentor so that I came to Israel with a job.
  • Letting me know whenever kids of friends of people you know move to Jerusalem temporarily and sending me their e-mail addresses. ;)
  • Inspiring me by example to study Hebrew before I came, thus making this whole transition SO much easier.
  • Being very resourceful guests when you visited in December, proving that it IS possible to tour all of Haifa on foot-- including Elijah's cave-- in one day!
  • Bubble-wrapping bottles of your homemade maple syrup to send with every visitor from the US so far, including second cousins I had never met before. I still like my French Toast with maple syrup. :)
  • Helping us out whenever we need someone to get something done for us in the states, whether it's transferring a check to our account to buy a car or Global Priority Mailing me my 1099 tax forms!
  • Encouraging me in every new thing I try, including this blog. :)
  • Becoming more and more of a close friend every year, even though I now live further away.
My mother-in-law and I in Seattle a few years ago... not the
greatest picture of either of us, but a good time!

To my wonderful mother-in-law-- thank you so much for...
  • Serving as my original role model of Israeli womanhood.
  • Introducing me to Israeli cooking, including the most amazing pashdidot I have ever had and the classic peti-bar ice cream cakes.
  • Being unfailingly loving and nonjudgmental, the complete opposite of the bad mother-in-law stereotype. In fact, I'm pretty sure you've made it clear to my husband that you would take my side in a fight. ;)
  • Helping me understand the Israeli attitude towards life and religion (such as why you don't really care about going to synagogue but DO prepare a huge feast on Rosh Hashana)
  • Buying me Israeli clothes whenever you went on trips to Israel so that I could pretend to look Israeli before I arrived here.
  • Modeling for me life in a foreign country-- you came to America 17 years ago and forged a thriving social life among Israelis and Americans, never cowed by a language barrier or cultural adjustment. I didn't realize how American you had become until I came here!
  • Proving to me-- through the way you devour novels in English-- that I CAN read novels in Hebrew.
  • Also bringing with you boxes and boxes of Breathe-Right Nasal Strips from the US, so that even now I'm nowhere near to running out of them.
  • Reading my blog on your e-mail and sending me comments about it. :) (There should be a link for you to follow to see it on its original website!)
  • Reminding me not to take life or myself too seriously.
  • Keeping me updated on all the latest news about family and friends in both countries. :)
  • Calling us every week, often right before my parents stop by to visit you-- I love that you all still act like family even after we've left!
  • Raising a wonderful son who I was lucky to marry.
And I shouldn't let Mother's Day pass without mentioning my wonderful grandmother, who herself moved from Brazil to the US at a young age and serves as a great model of resilience, wonderful cooking, strength, and engagement in life.

Thank you to all of the strong women who have served as my role models. Happy (American) Mother's Day!


  1. Thanks so very much for this wonderful Mother's Day Gift, Maya! Hmm, I could write a similar one about *you* as a daughter :-).

    And I did read (and translate...) one of my Israeli kids' stories to the group of preschoolers at our synagogue that I sing with-- they loved it, and I managed to do it with good expression, and some of them remembered phrases from it several weeks later... so, yes, I'm working at getting ready for possible future opportunities :-).

    All my love, b'avahah,
    Ima in America

  2. I acually saw this blog after googling:"where to buy breathe right strips in israel" I am trying to find some for my mother who lives in jerusalem, or anywhere online that ships to there... cool blog by the way:)
    I see you wrote that the strips are available in israel? if you could tell me where i would greatly appreciate it, please email at cut_your_nails@yahoo.com (strange email, but very real:)
    Thanks so much!


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