JMM Insights: Mother’s Day

Our gift to you this Mother’s Day is a (mostly) stereotype-free celebration of mothers (both Jewish and not). Even those of us who enjoy the antics of Mrs. Maizel, her mother and mother-in-law, can recognize that those are comic exaggerations of more subtle behavioral quirks.

A great place to begin is to enjoy Pam Nadell’s book, America’s Jewish Women. Dr. Nadell, who spoke on this topic at JMM last fall, recently told us that her book is now out in paperback just in time for Mother’s Day (though we think the hardback makes an especially lovely gift).

In the meantime, we are pleased to share reflections on mom from our staff and our collections, and to offer some ideas on how to connect with your mothers on this social distancing Mother’s Day.


From the JMM collections: Picture postcard of Carrie Katy Weinberg, including child’s drawing on reverse. Gift of the Estate of Carolyn Weinberg, JMM 1991.65.3.1.

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Mother, Mom, Momma, Madre, Maman, Ma, матушка אמא,

Moms, Grandmas, Aunts, Sisters, Cousins, Family Friends …this weekend is a time to honor, remember, and celebrate the mother figures in our lives. There are lots of ways to be a mom – and even more ways to be someone’s kid. In today’s JMM Insights, we’re going to get personal, peek into the collections for some great mom-related content, and share some ideas for celebrating at home!

For Mother’s Day this year, we asked our staff to share memories, stories, and thanks for the mother-figures in their lives. We hope this might inspire you to share your memories and stories with us as well. Post as a comment on the blog, on our Facebook page or on Twitter – use the hashtag #JMMMoms so we’ll be sure to see it.

Here’s one of the stories shared by JMM archivist Lorie Rombro:

My mother has always been a wonderful mother but as a grandmother she has incredible patience for her grandchildren. Spending hours reading, playing and just being with them.  Occasionally I notice myself saying somethings that I swore I never would and when I tell her, she laughs and says “Now you understand what I went through!”

You can enjoy the rest of our JMM Mom stories here.

Pictured, left to right:

Anna Kornblatt with her daughter Rose, ca. 1907. Gift of Susan Grosser, JMM 1995.13.18. 
Bessie Rifman with her son Avrum, 1926. Gift of Ruth Rifman, JMM 1996.108.7. 
Roseline Blacher with her son Fred, 1918. Gift of Steven Blacher, JMM 2008.118.19.

Looking for a little more history in your Mother’s Day celebrations? Then you’ll definitely want to peruse our collections! Joanna took a dive into the archives to find some absolutely lovely photos to share. The 3 images here were her top picks, but we’ve got a whole lot more for you to enjoy here.

Since running out to the store for last minute flowers, gifts, and cards isn’t a great idea this year, we thought you might like a few hands-on crafting options to help make the day special!

Flowers are always a lovely gift – particularly the kind that don’t wilt! You might particularly like our recycled paper flowers project (you can find the instructions here). Or try out this paper plate flower basket, thumbprint flower bouquet, or pipe cleaner flower card.

A handmade card never goes awry – pull out your fanciest paper, markers, pens, and stickers to share a message from your heart. You could even tuck in a personalized “Notable Woman” card (find the instructions here) or maybe an original poem, like Max Heppner’s Lieve Moeder from our collections (which, if you can translate it, we’d love to know exactly what it says).

Poem by Max Heppner to his mother Irene. JMM 1995.47.27.


While a space probe may not have a human pilot, it takes a whole team of people to make one!

Try this Wondernauts activity and work together as a family to create your very own space probe. We can’t wait to see your awesome designs!


Jewish Women’s History, Class Photos, and Meaningful Objects – many of this past week’s blog posts are about looking back to the past and connecting to our present.


New at Esther’s Place: It’s the perfect mug for soup!

Don’t see something you’re interested in at the online shop? Contact Shop Manager Chris Sniezek at and let us know.


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