Julie Rubin’s Story:
Meet Jewish Family Network’s Newest Connector
Julie Rubin is the new connector for the South Metrowest area. She and her husband, Dan, live in Medfield with their 20-month-old son, Zachary. In this interview, the former teacher tells us a little about herself, what her challenges as a stay-at-home mom have been, and why she thinks support from other parents in the Jewish and local communities is so important when raising a young child.
How long have you lived in the Metrowest area? Do you have family here?
Our family has been living in Medfield for almost two years and has loved getting to know the town and the people who reside there. Other than four years in Rochester, N.Y., for college, Metrowest Boston has always been my home. My husband and I both grew up in Newton, and most of our family still lives there. We lived in Natick for three years before making Medfield our permanent home.
What are some ways you’ve connected with other parents and families in the community up to now?
Since our son was born, I have felt a strong desire to connect with other parents and families in the community. While this is not always an easy task, I have made it my personal goal to find other parents like myself looking to make bonds and friendships. I participated in a JCC new mothers’ group, a “Tumbling Tots” class through the town of Medfield, several Isis Parenting classes, and other local parent-child classes. I find that being a part of these structured programs, combined with spending time at playgrounds and local libraries, has really helped me to meet parents like myself looking for new connections.
Why do you feel there’s a desire among Jewish parents to connect with each other?
I feel that many Jewish parents are looking to connect with each other to keep the traditions and values of Judaism alive. For me, this is a very important part of raising a Jewish child. I love to be able to talk to and share experiences with other parents about being part of a Jewish family and passing down the values that we were raised with to our children.
Do you see a difference in the Jewish community now and the one you were familiar with growing up?
I would say that the biggest difference I see in the Jewish community over the past several years is the amount of interfaith families. Growing up, it was rare to meet interfaith couples or families. Today, I know several people who are a part of interfaith families. Those closest to me are my mother and stepfather, who have been married for 10 years, and my brother and sister-in-law, who are expecting their first baby next month! The learning and sharing of traditions and holidays has been a wonderful learning experience for me.
What drew you to the position of South Metrowest connector for Jewish Family Network? Had you participated in any JFN activities prior to joining the staff?
When I first heard about the position at JFN I was immediately interested and excited about it. The Jewish Family Network was new to me, and I couldn’t believe all of the amazing local programs and activities that I had been missing out on the past 20 months! I felt right away that this was an organization that I would be proud to be a part of and loved the idea of helping Jewish families connect and get to know one another.
You were an elementary and middle school teacher before your son was born. Did you ever consider going back to work while he was still young? What are some specific challenges you think stay-at-home moms face?
The time that I spent teaching before my son was born were such wonderful years. Working with children was always what I wanted to do. When my husband and I decided to have a baby, my priorities shifted from teaching to motherhood. While I knew I would miss the classroom, it became clear that being a stay-at-home mom was the right choice for now.
That being said, being home with Zach has its challenges. I quickly realized that I was missing the adult interaction I had had as a teacher. Finding people like myself to connect with has been one of my main goals these past 20 months.
Feeling alone is common for stay-at-home moms. I feel it is critically important to keep in mind that we have one of the toughest jobs in the world and that there are plenty of us out there to provide support in challenging times and to celebrate the joyful times.