Monday, October 31, 2011


In the past year, when I had a bit of a crisis regarding my work as a Chiropractor and my desire to leave a more lasting imprint on the planet, I came up with the inspiration that single mothers by choice need to have a centralized resource center.  They need a place and an address that can answer questions regarding the technical and beurocratic aspects of the fertility treatments, pregnancy as a woman alone, and the government rights of a single parent in Israel.

I had contacted the American organization, Single Mothers by Choice and they said that they had a representative here in Israel, and I had to pass all my ideas through her; unfortunately, this person was not interested in the vision I presented to her.

Today, I received a flyer via email announcing a new non-profit organization called KayamaMoms, started by someone I know from my neighborhood, named Aviva Harbater.  KayamaMoms was founded to provide "tools and support for Jewish women reaching the eve of their fertility," and who are considering becoming a JSMBC.  The group targets the religious market, and will be hosting their opening event tomorrow evening in Jerusalem, with a series of lectures entitled, "JSMBC:  Halachic, Psychological and Medical Perspectives."

They have amassed quite an impressive set of speakers, including Rabbi Benny Lau, Rabbi Yuval Cherlow and Dr. Miri Godin of Hadassah Hospital, among others.

Many people have forwarded me this flyer, and I am as yet unsure whether I will actually attend.  I don't need to hear that my daughter has validity within the Jewish community, two years after her birth.  I also don't wish to be "Exhibit A" in a room full of women who may or may not fulfill their own destiny of parenthood.

The end of the page states that women who have already taken the step of SMBC are welcome as well, in order to help them "integrate more easily" into the more conventional religious family environment both in Israel and the United States.  I find that statement almost insulting, except that I am sure the sentiment comes from a place of helping, rather than condescention.


mother in israel said...

JSMBC: I was impressed by something you once wrote, about how you don't want your daughter to be stigmatized so you avoid socializing with groups of other single moms. I think that makes sense.
I hope that your resource center can become a reality.

JG said...

Mother in Israel: there was a recent gathering of SMCs in New York, and at that meeting there was a panel of adult children of SMCs. One thing that came up was that those adults said that they felt it had been important to them to spend time with other SMC families as they grew up-- so they saw other families that looked like their own, and that helped reinforce their own family structure and helped them not feel out of place in a world where SMC families were not the norm.

It's every SMC's choice, of course, how to raise their family. But I want my child growing up knowing other families that look just like hers. Of course, it may be different in Israel, but I believe what those adult children of SMCs said is important, and am taking it to heart.

Ariela said...

"I was impressed by something you once wrote, about how you don't want your daughter to be stigmatized so you avoid socializing with groups of other single moms. I think that makes sense. "

How does that make sense? If you keep kosher, don't you want your kids to know other families who keep kosher? Unless, you are embarrased by the fact that you keep kosher and don't want anyone else to know

Doc said...

I am hardly embarassed by my status as a JSMBC, and I have already volunteered to mentor any woman from this organization who may be interested in hearing about my experience and perspective.

I feel I can do more good that way, rather than stand up at a meeting and say, "See, I did it, and so can you!" That is not my place to "convince" other women to take such a major life changing step, they must come to it on their own.

I also feel it is counter-productive to give my child a scarlet letter, so to speak, and continually point out that her conception and family are outside the norm.

As it happens, her best friend from Gan is another little girl who was brought into the world the same way as Rpahaela. But we have just as many play dates with children who have two parents at home, divorced parents; religious and secular.

Hopefully I have taught Raphaela not to judge others by artifical standards, but rather by their actions and choices, by their soul rather than the box society has defined for them.

In any case, when Raphaela gets older, I will have no control over her friends. What I will always want for her is to be happy, and to feel good about herself.