Well worth reading, and I dedicate this post to those of my clients – past, present (and future) – and friends, who so deserve this tribute.
Here’s a taste, but read the whole piece:
Jewish single mothers – a growing demographic in our community – often find themselves facing a unique situation unparalleled even in the challenging world of other single moms. Responsibilities for which they have not prepared, scenarios they never imagined, and social settings that are not their natural turf – all are all tackled with skill and competence by so many Orthodox single mothers, and in a manner so humble and successful that it often goes unrecognized.
In the Orthodox community more than any other, single moms find themselves filling roles predominantly assumed by men and they do it in environments that are dominated by and filled with men. They find themselves helping their sons with Judaic studies homework that may require a yeshiva background; teaching them to say Kiddush, HaMotzie, and other prayers; and actively engaging in religious matters that traditionally have not been part of a woman’s domain.
Time and again I witness mothers in our community whose husbands have passed away, left due to divorce, or simply disappeared going to extraordinary lengths to make sure their children are brought up as upstanding Torah Jews. I know mothers who take the time to research the learning style and atmosphere at a given yeshiva; mothers who make sure to get their sons a solid bar mitzvah or Talmud tutor; mothers who make endless sacrifices to ensure their children get a quality Jewish education.
I have seen single moms making sure that their children get seats in the synagogue for the High Holidays and that their sons, who of course are seated in the men’s section where mothers can’t be present, are seated next to someone who can help them navigate the prayers. I know moms who arrange for their sons to participate in prayers throughout the year or whenever their dad is not around to take them to shul.
(Hattip – and kudos- to EZP)