I am an actress, currently rehearsing a one-woman show at the Nora Theatre in Cambridge, MA.  I play Ann Landers, a.k.a. Eppie Lederer. The title of the show is The Lady With All the Answers.

When I told my Dad the title, his response was, “Easy. That’s your mother.” And he’s right. Eppie was a classic Jewish Mother: never at a loss for an opinion, both smart and wise (they aren’t the same thing), funny, practical, blunt, businesslike, and compassionate. My Mom is like that. Probably your Mom is, too, whether she’s Jewish or not. Even I can be like that, when helping my friends talk through their problems (dealing with my own problems is a whole different story, of course).

I’m fascinated by the number of Jewish women who have made their living and their place in the world telling other people what to do: being Professional Jewish Mothers. Ann Landers, her twin sister Dear Abby (there’s a story – come see the show and you’ll hear all about it) Judith Martin, Dr. Ruth, Judge Judy, Dr. Joyce Brothers…those are just the recent ones that come readily to mind. What is it with them? Are they just busybodies? Yentas? What? I don’t think that they are just nosy. They all share the positive qualities listed above. And they also share the work of talking about the elephant in the room, telling it where to go, and cleaning up the poop after it leaves.


This guest post is by Stephanie Clayman, an actress, teacher, voice-over artist, and Jewish Mother. She lives in Arlington, MA, with her husband and son.

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