Mamaleh Knows Best: What Jewish Mothers Do to Raise Successful, Creative, Empathetic, Independent Children
by Marjorie Ingall
Harmony Publishers, 2016
Review by Tijuana L. Canders
December 21, 2016
Marjorie Ingall blends personal experience, humor, historical texts, and scientific research, in Mamaleh Knows Best to dispel stereotypes regarding Jewish tradition, motherhood, and parenting. Ingall shares Jewish secrets for raising self-sufficient, ethical, and accomplished children. She offers abundant examples showing how Jewish mothers have nurtured their children’s independence, fostered discipline, urged a healthy distrust of authority, consciously cultivated geekiness and kindness, stressed education, and maintained a sense of humor.
Mamelah Knows Best is a 256 page hardcover book written with a strong voice, has an excellent mixture of history, personal anecdote, theology, pop culture, and common sense. It’s an absolute delight to read. You don’t have to have an ounce of jewishness in you to get something out of this book. as the author says, ‘Jewish motherhood is a philosophy, not an identity’! The lessons here are not religious in tone, but they emphasize the jewish values of community, family, reading, awareness of the world around you and your place in it, independence, good deeds without the expectation of praise, and just general integrity.
I loved this book! It’s solid, practical information: building a relationship with your child in discipline and community, the importance of asking questions rather than giving answers, actions over lip service and beliefs, reframing from the actions of helicopter parent, the too-easy-to-praise parent, and valuing the action of tikkun olam (altruism without a superiority attitude), all contribute to shaping children who are kind, independent, ethical, hardworking, creative, generous, and engaged in the world. Mamelah Knows Best is thought-provoking, and Ingall delivers her ideas in a witty, straightforward tone that’s never afraid to point out her own missteps or lend her sense of humor.
Mamaleh Knows Best is an excellent read for expecting parents and current parents who may be searching for a well balanced parenting method to raise children successfully.
© 2016 Tijuana L. Canders