Sisterhood Blog

Jewish Mothers On Babble List of World Changers

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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The Babble parenting website has come out with its list of “100 Moms Who Are Changing The World” list, and as might be expected, there are Jewish women on it. After all, Jewish mothers can be quite formidable.

Jewish women did not make an appearance in all 10 categories on the list - activism, charity, creative, education, entrepreneurial, executive, green, health/science, inspirational, and politics – but they are disproportionately represented when taking into consideration the number of Jewish women in the general population. Perhaps we should even take it as a sign that the tribe was represented by exactly 12 Jews.

Fashion designer Donna Karan was on the list for her philanthropic work for cancer treatment through her Urban Zen Foundation, emergency housing in Haiti through Shelterbox, and cancer research and HIV/AIDS awareness through Seventh on Sale and Super Saturday.

Writer and filmmaker Nora Ephron and writer-director Lisa Cholodenko, known best for her Academy Award-nominated film “The Kids Are All Right,” about a lesbian couple and their teenage children, were honored for their creativity.

Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier made the list for their achievements and contributions in the field of education.

Designer Diane von Furstenberg (nee Diane Simone Michelle Halfin) was noted for her entrepreneurial skills and accomplishments. Madonna was also in the entrepreneurs group, but despite her dabbling in Kabbalah, she doesn’t raise the Jewish count.

Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg, referred to by Business Week as Mark Zuckerberg’s adult supervision, took top spot in the Executive group. Irene Rosenfeld, CEO and Chairman of Kraft Foods, who is often on Forbes and Fortune power lists, was also there.

One Jewish mother made the list for her contributions to the field of health and science. That was Nancy Brinker, the diplomat who established the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in memory of her sister, who died at age 36. The foundation has raised billions of dollars for cancer research.

Age-defying swimmer Dara Torres, and Worldwide Orphans Foundation founder Dr. Jane Aronson were deemed inspirational. Aronson, a New Jersey physician started her venture in 1997. It now supports children medically and educationally in Bulgaria, Serbia, Vietnam, Ethiopia and Haiti.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court claimed the eighth spot on the politics group. Presumably, Justice Elena Kagan would have had a decent shot had she had children.

It should come as no surprise that there are some notable Yiddishe mamas among the judges, as well. They include Lauren Zalaznick, President of NBC Universal Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks, reporter Lisa Belkin, who writes the New York Times’ Motherlode blog, and PunditMom blogger Joanne Bamberger - who may or not be Jewish, but has written that “many of my family members are Jewish.”

In case you think there are certain women (Jewish or not) missing from the list, you can nominate them. Babble’s list is technically only one of “mominations,” and the public can nominate any other deserving mother - be she a well known figure or just a regular mom like you or me. Voting is open until September 20, and on September 27, a high-profile panel of judges will choose one mom from among all the “mominees” in each of the ten categories to receive $5,000 to donate to her favorite cause.


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