Most of us are familiar with the cliché of the Jewish mother, who urges everyone to eat, nags her adult kids who don’t call her, and who is the butt of dozens of jokes that make people groan instead of laugh. Although I do love the one about the mom who gives her son two ties for his birthday, the son immediately puts one on, and the mom says “What, you didn’t like the other one?”
Of course, I’ve always thought I was way too hip for that cliché, but as I find myself nagging my own sons about their eating habits (which are mostly terrible, and would it be so hard for them to eat something green besides green Skittles?), I can hear echoes of my mother and grandmother. Yes, I’m a Jewish mother — but that isn’t as inconsistent with liberal political views as one might imagine, particularly when it comes to gay rights.
For example, many reformed synagogues, including ours, have offered same-sex commitment ceremonies for years. And Jews are disproportionately represented in entertainment; just listen to “You Won’t Succeed On Broadway” from Spamalot, with a gay-friendly environment. Plus we’re far more likely to live in urban areas, or suburbs near large cities, which tend to lean more Democrat and thus more tolerant. In fact, at the large suburban high school my kids attended, the biggest issue with their Gay Straight Alliance club was that it was mostly filled with straight teen girls who, thanks to Glee and Smash, wanted their own gay best friend.
When my kids were young, I tried to impart this tolerance by making sure my boys spent time with my wonderful gay friends, and urging tolerance whenever I could. My older son was about 11 when he asked me when I thought he’d be ready to start kissing girls. I responded, quite earnestly, “Your body will tell you when you’re ready, and it will also tell you whether you want to kiss girls or boys, because both are okay.” He rolled his eyes and said, “Geez, Mom, give it a rest. I hate to disappoint you, but I’m straight.”
At any rate, it makes perfect sense that a Jewish mother would not only welcome, but actually want, a gay son — because that way she’d never be replaced by another woman. (Cue rim shot.) But to my surprise, when I Googled “Jewish Mothers For Marriage Equality,” there were no exact matches. So clearly, a song was waiting to be born (and now, if you Google that phrase, this one will come up!).
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