Sisterhood Blog

Oldest First-Time Jewish Mother

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen

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According to a story on the religious website Vos Iz Neias (What’s News?), a 60-year-old woman in Kfar Chabad, Israel, gave birth to her first child earlier this month.

Oy.

Now, this couple had been trying to conceive, and undergoing fertility treatments, for 40 years. That’s a long time to put your body and soul through such procedures. They apparently had this baby boy with the help of a donor egg.

Fertility treatments raise some interesting halachic issues, an introduction to which can be read here.

But I understand the deep desire to have a child (we have three of our own and, if we could have afforded more day school tuition and larger housing, might have had more). Added to the internal, one might say biological drive that most of us feel, this fervently Orthodox couple had the religious imperative to “be fruitful and multiply” driving their effort.

Haredi birth rates, while according to this Ha’aretz article last year are falling in Israel, are still several multiples of those of non-Orthodox Jews, in Israel and in the Diaspora. Families with 10 children are not at all uncommon in haredi communities like Kfar Chabad, Crown Heights and Borough Park.

Women also tend to start younger (as soon as they’re married, often at 19 or 20) and continue having babies longer than those of us who are not haredi. At frum weddings I’ve occasionally seen mothers-of-the-bride who are pregnant or holding their own infant themselves.

So mazal tov, 60-year-old first time mom in Kfar Chabad. Hey, you’re at an age when some start having trouble sleeping anyway, so the middle-of-the-night feedings hopefully aren’t bothering you too much.

And while you may be the oldest first-time Jewish mother we’ve heard about, someone’s got you beat. The oldest known birth mother in the world is an Indian who last year delivered twins at age 70.

What does “Oy” sound like in Hindi?



Comments
Gila Fri. Jun 19, 2009

Was the Hindi woman a Jewess? Was it her own egg? If not, from whom was the egg?

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