In first person… Yiddishe Mamas heart and soul supported me

She's not neurotic. She doesn't "guilt" me for not being in close contact with her. She doesn't worry about me (much). She doesn't pester me to find the "right guy" and settle down. She doesn't even have a Yiddish accent. But maybe that's because her life is good, I call all the time, she knows I always land on my feet — and she's Israeli.

OK, so she does kvell over her granddaughter, my beautiful toddler. But what really makes my mother a "Yiddishe Mama" is her heart and soul. Her Russian father settled in Israel during the second Aliyah, and she recalls how her mother let her sleep through the founding of the state of Israel, since she was a mere fourth-grader and had school the next day (after all, she had a Jewish mother, too). Today, she teaches Jewish texts, history and culture to children and adults, and is a respected, beloved part of her community.

As a mom, she was consistently affectionate and fun. She read to us, sang, danced, played. One summer at the Tel Aviv beach, she held my 8-year-old hands as we rode the terrifyingly high waves. My fear evaporated with her bubbling laughter and the security of her warm grasp as each wave gathered us up, rolled us to its peak, and gently released us, before crashing and roaring on toward the crowded beach. At moments of fear, I recall that moment — and feel buoyed up and supported by my mother's love.