A Testament to Motherhood

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Last week as I celebrated Mother’s Day surrounded by my son, Stephen, his wife and my two grandchildren, I couldn’t help but kvell at how fortunate I have been.

I thought about the years of tending to Stephen and his brother, Alex, of being there when they had a fever or simply needed my ear after a difficult day. How many times have I beamed with pride at their awards, their b’nai mitzvahs, their graduations, the birth of my grandkids?

There is this wonderful Jewish proverb, “God couldn’t be everywhere, so He made mothers.” I think nothing is truer. As mothers, we are always there trying to do our best for our children, both physically and emotionally.

Yet I feel that one of our most important gifts as a mother is to impart the values we hold dear. It’s teaching them to become good people through our words and most importantly, through our actions.

Over the years, I have tried to live my life as an example. As a mother of two, I wanted them both to feel a strong connection to their Jewish identity and to their Jewish community. I wanted them to understand who they were and what role they play in impacting the world in which they lived.

Today, both are passionate about Israel. I like to believe their commitment began from their traveling to our Jewish homeland on an Associated Family Mission, where they experienced the vibrancy of our Jewish homeland and the warmth of its people. And when I chaired The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore’s Baltimore-Ashkelon Partnership, they forged friendships with the Ashkelonians who visited.

I showed them the importance of Jewish engagement through my volunteer work. As they grew older, I served as Associated Women campaign chair, demonstrating to them that every person has the power to impact our community with their gift of time and dollars — no matter how big or small. And, as part of Associated Women, I want them to see and respect the power of women as a collective force that can make a difference.

Last month, I had the privilege to travel to Israel on an Associated Women Mission. At one point, we gathered together, opening letters from our families that offered reflections on our roles as mother and wife. What a powerful testament to learn how much I have influenced them.

I love to say our job as mothers is to ensure the past. Our children are in charge of their future. My children are living their own lives today, and I am so proud that they have incorporated the values that I shared in their work and in their private lives.

I am so grateful to The Associated for providing me with opportunities to not only embrace my passions, but to model to them how I wanted them to live.

Nina Rosenzwog is chair of Associated Women.

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