Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sitting Out the Mommy Wars

I made aliyah shortly before marrying my husband while studying for an MA at Hebrew U. So far I've raised two children here in Israel, God willing a third will arrive around Yom Ha'atzmaut (I'm so Zionist I coordinate my births with Israeli Independence Day!)

Though I've never raised children in the US, I read a lot of online and print discussion of the famous "mommy wars" raging over there, and it really mystifies me. (For anyone living in cave or not that interested in media-hyped social issues, the "mommy wars" pit stay at home moms (SAHMs) against working moms as to who is damaging/raising their children more).

I'm mystified because we don't seem to have that war here in Israel. Though we are far from a working-parent utopia, there seems to be a much better work/life balance here than in the US, due to a number of contributing factors . It's accepted and actually expected that women will return to work after the birth of their children, usually after our three month paid maternity leave, though many moms take longer then that, sometimes stretching out the leave to 7-12 months (the latter months being unpaid.) I know that this puts pressure on women who do want to stay home with their children, but it is a contrast to the US, where SAHMing seems to be the "in" thing and moms who dare to work are considered negligent or worse.

When women do return, there are many different childcare options both private and public. Though some options are subsidized, you still get what you pay for here- day care centers are cheaper but have a higher carer/child ratio. And women just recently won the right to have childcare recognized as a business expense for tax purposes.

Working mothers also get a subsidized "she'at hanaka" (nursing hour) for the first year. That's an hour that can be used for pumping breast milk, feeding (if you have your baby near your work) or for leaving work earlier. Which brings me to work hours- most careers and jobs have mom-friendly work hours here, which is usually 8-3:30/4. It is rarely expected that for women to work or even excel in their careers, they must work an 80 hour week. There are also many part-time/3/4 time jobs available that give moms added flexibility.

Moms are also not the only ones with flexible jobs. When I pick up my daughter from late day gan, I see many dads, in addition to the moms, picking up their kids. On the other hand, I barely ever see babysitters picking up kids at gan, even at four pm. Which tells me that many, if not most working parents have found a schedule that allows them to be with their children for a significant chunk of pre-dinner time at the end of the day, something that seems to elude working parents in the US.

Full disclosure: I work part time from home and enjoy an extremely flexible schedule. I don't have to worry about taking off when my children are sick and I make enough money to cover high quality childcare expenses. I've also been able to arrange it so I've never had to put my children in childcare before age 1, a luxury not all working families have.

As I said, things are not perfect here- I know there are moms who consider the expectation that all children be in a "misgeret" (childcare framework) by the age of one to be unhealthy for children, and this could very well be. (I have a theory that this expectation stems from kibbutz children's houses, but I've never had a chance to research this)

However, from what I've observed, Israel is a lot more supportive of working parents than the US, which is crucial for the simple fact that most families could not manage on one salary, even with free schooling and low cost healthcare. Which makes Israel that much more awesome! (Sorry LOZ, I had to get that in there).

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד


Rafi G. said...

nice post! and it is very true that the work environment is very forgiving and generally generous and accommodating towards women/mothers.
the downside of it is that women are generally paid on average less than men are paid. But I do not know if that is an Israeli phenomenon or if it is common all over...

Commenter Abbi said...

Thanks Rafi! My first guest post attempt.

You're right, women do probably get lower salaries. However, because of subsidized day care/preschool, women are more likely to still make a decent salary so that it's economically worth it for them to work, even after day care expenses.

However, lower wages for women I think still plagues many Western countries, not just Israel.

Anonymous said...

Woohoo! Go "Commenter Abbi"!

(Was reading the first line and thinking it sounded familiar...:)

Anonymous said...

This is very true, and it's one of the many reasons I love Israel and will never regret having left Europe for. It's part of the "children and family above everything" that we have here, and not only as a lip service.

I raise four children here and both my husband and I have satisfying jobs. No dream career (which we never wished for anyway) but we feel good with our jobs and bring home the tofu.

For me, the indicator is the pediatrician's waiting room. A country where you see dads taking their children for vaccination can't be all bad.

And I love it that children are a badge of pride here, not a horrible burden that demands sacrifices. It's how it should be.

Anonymous said...

How amusing that here in America there is a "Mommy War" or whatever term you're using. I live in Teaneck. Some of my friends work, and some do not. Most of us are comfortable with the option we have chosen. Last year I taught at one of the local schools and was home before the school bus arrived with my three children. I have friends who work part time in fields as diverse as occupational and physical therapy, law, medicine, dentistry, etc. etc. I also have friends who work full time. Some work until 5, some until 8. It's the career choices they made that influence their work day. I'm sure some work long hours to pay for their extravagant lifestyles (since that's what you probably assume), but, again, that's their choice.
This year I am working freelance from home and make my own hours. My neighbor down the block is a teacher at a local college and works three days a week. Another woman down the block is a stay at home mom. No one thinks less or more of her. That's what she wants to do.
So I guess my question is, do you have very few friends in America and therefore have no idea how we really live, getting your opinions from some magazine or newspaper you read- probably the Jerusalem Post, or are you just someone who feels everything must be better in Israel because it is Israel? Either way, you may need a bit of a reality check.
MIT (Mom in Teaneck)

Anonymous said...

Much as I am normally a fan of your comments on DovBear - I have to agree with Mom-in-Teaneck on this one. As one who worked full-time for a number of years (out of necessity) and now works part-time, I have never felt judged by others for my decisions - and never felt the need to judge. However, you are right that in general - there is little support for the work/life balance for men or women in the U.S. Here there is little support for maternity leave, flex schedules, job shares etc.

Commenter Abbi said...

"there is little support for the work/life balance for men or women in the U.S. Here there is little support for maternity leave, flex schedules, job shares etc."

TO and MIT: that's the point. Of course everyone makes their own choices (and I hardly assumed that whatever is hyped in the U.S. media is actual reality). However, the choices that working mothers make in the US are that much harder because of this lack of support.

I'm sorry, you just can't compare six weeks unpaid leave to 3 months paid leave. Or municipal preschools that are a fraction of the cost of the private ones you have there, and of such high quality that families of all social classes send there, not just lower income. or a paid hour to nurse!

I have little doubt that many US mothers and fathers find work that allows them to make a living and be with their children. However, the biggest complaint that I've heard so far, from my few friends going through this, is that there are few part-time/flex time jobs available in the US and with the exorbitant cost of preschool/day care makes these types of jobs economically unfeasible. If this happens not to be the case Teaneck, glad to hear that.

Honestly, MIT, I'm not sure why you need to be insulted by my description of maternity leave and preschool here in Israel. I was very clear that I was getting my impressions of U.S. work/life balance from the print and online media I've read.

If you go to Amazon, there's practically a whole section of "mommy war" books. Maybe this is media cottage industry with no bearing on reality. Maybe the NY Times Magazine just made up that article about all those college educated women "opting out" a few years ago. Who knows?

Regardless, working mothers are still much better supported here then in the states. I'm sorry if this is insulting to you. (BTW, I hardly think it's a secret that this is a pro-Israel blog)

Commenter Abbi said...

Lila- great point about the dr's waiting room! I've noticed that too.

"but we feel good with our jobs and bring home the tofu. "

This is a good point too- I feel there is much less of a rat race here then I did when I was living in the states, even as a single. (you have to get into THE BEST COLLEGE so you can have THE BEST JOB so you can make THE MOST MONEY- this was definitely the social message I got when I was in high school. Of course, you only find out after college that nobody really gives a fig where you went to college, but it's annoying that you only find this out after).

tafka- yes, you were there from the very beginning!

Anonymous said...

abbi --

you left out the very salient point that since we have socialized medicine, there is also less pressure to find a job with the THE BEST health insurance. while not perfect (where anywhere is there perfection anyway?), it allows mothers more flexibility to work freelance or flex-time, or be a SAHM. while this is not specifically geared towards the work-life balance it does allow for more choices... and also alleviates pressure on fathers who may otherwise remain in a rat-race job in order provide this very expensive but important basic necessity.

Anonymous said...

anonymous teaneck mom --

let's not forget that you also live in a very jewish area. like israel, the attitudes in such communities towards family life are different than the rest of the world. so it may be understood that the working-outside-the-home mom may be doing that in order to help pay for the astronomical tuition bills (or she may just want to work or make use of her invested-in education). it is also understood that as orthodox jews, there is a premium placed on the home and family, so a SAHM is not an anomaly (although given the high tuition bill for jewish day schools in the ny metro area, i would say that a SAHM who can stay-at-home and afford the tuition along with the ability to live in teaneck is very blessed). and in communities like lakewood and boro park working moms are the norm because someone has to provide while the fathers sit and learn, and because of the mores, no one looks askance. i think that among our communities there is a built-in understanding both ways that may be missing (i don't have first-hand experience with other communities) in other places.

Anonymous said...

So because there are some accommodations for the women Israel is so good? For me, America is great because it allows for the option of letting me stay home with my kids. I do not live in a society where OF COURSE the mother works, and so we set up a system whereby we can institutionalize the little ones almost from month one.

Commenter Abbi said...

You know, I was going to put in the point about socialized medicine (aahhh, the horror!) allowing pple to choose the jobs they want regardless of health insurance; i just thought it was another post, didn't want to muddle things.

But I agree, it does only adds to the work/life balance equation.

anon: If you can afford to be a SAHM in the US, more power to you. And, I guess you missed the point in my post where we have THREE month paid maternity leave so no babies here leave their mothers at 1 month or six weeks.And most moms stretch out to at least 6 months, if they can afford to.

Women can always choose to stay home here if they want. But they also have a real choice to return to work, that is fully supported by the gov't and society. This support is definitely lacking in the States.

mother in israel said...

As an Israeli mom who has not worked much out of the home, I have found that mothers like me are not respected in Israel. You are only presenting one side of the equation--that no one gives working mothers a guilt trip like you may have seen in the US. I agree with you. But while I don't lose any sleep over the negative attitude toward SAHMs, the court decision you mentioned (which is likely to be seriously challeneged)just means that mothers of small children living on one salary are penalized--they don't bring in an income and they don't get any economic assistance. Maybe they should do Erma Bombeck's trick and pay each other to babysit for their kids.

Also, the tax break won't help the women who really need it. It will help women like the one interviewed in Haaretz, who will now be able to justify leaving work at 6:30 PM instead of 7:30, so she can arrive at home "relaxed," having finished up all of her work (her husband works even longer hours).

Finally (sorry for hijacking the comments), the two-career couples I see have a very affluent lifestyle, with new apartments in exclusive neighborhoods, two cars, etc. I don't see these as people who "need" two incomes. Another example of the extreme rich-poor divide in Israel, and this court case will make it even worse. And while it may benefit families' bottom line, I doubt that many children will appreciate it. Hopefully people will use the extra money to buy higher-quality daycare.

Anonymous said...

anon 10.36 --

i happen to live in a community *in israel* where many mothers are SAHMs and have not sacrificed standard of living. and those who do work, are not working because they *have* to, but are working part time while their children are in school, because they *want* to, for many reasons. and your attitude just proved abbi's point about the mommy wars in america.

of those mothers here in israel who do work for whatever reason it is not a trauma, and it is normal and accepted. i've experienced both sides of the coin.

when i was living *in america* in the not too distant past, people thought it strange that i kept my child home with me until age 3. as i was a SAHM i felt no need to enroll my child in a pre-preschool program, other SAHMs *in america* thought i was crazy. i, on the other hand felt that the point of my work as a SAHM was about my children and not to be on permanent vacation.

mother in israel said...

First of all, my post sounded more argumentative than I intended, I'm not really arguing with what Abbi said and I think it's great that the working environment is parent-friendly (although this may be changing). But I do have a problem with my taxes encouraging "davka" two-career families. I understand the importance of stimulating the economy but I think in the future society will pay the price.
Also, I meant to say that the mother plans to leave work at 7:30 instead of 6:30.

Anonymous said...

OK, first background, I worked full time in the states because we needed insurance, now I'm a SAHM in Israel so maybe I can offer both perspectives;

US: as Abbi has said, many women who want to be SAHM can't. Reasons are cost of living and insurance mostly. And let's not get started with the mentality of children as a burden, of women not being able to produce as much as men because of children. US has a capitalistic mentality, if you produce you are a good citizen. All of this is outside the jewish area, but even in the frum school where I worked (out of town) we felt the discrimination against mothers when they needed to take time off because of children. The majority os women are back at work when their babies are 6 weeks (even though the peditritioan's advice is to not put your kid in a day care enviroment until 8 weeks minimum.) The Mommy wars do exist and are very real. I didn't live in a jewish area, I lived in a rich WASP are. Just show up to an LLL meeting so you can feel the fire from the mommy wars going on, not to mention the breastfeeding-formula wars. Ohh my.

Israel; Any woman who WANTS to be a SAHM here it's easier, but be prepared to explain to many people who on earth you don't send your kid to Maon. The mentality of kids being at home hasn't arrived to my corner of the country as it seems for nikki. That being said, many women do stay at home until their kid is 9 months to one year. But after that barely anyone keeps their kids at home. Try keeping your kid at home after the age of 2 and people will wonder if there is something wrong with your kid.
(The most common questions I get are "isn't she bored?" "Kids need to learn how to socialize" I usually never answer the last question because it isn't worth it.)
Where I live most women work out of necesity, However I found a group of SAHM women and wanna-be SAHMs and now I have a lot less explaining to do.
Mom in israel: the attitude to be a SAHM is missing in many parts but the conditions are present to enable you to be a SAHM, so as long so you don't care while others roll their eyes...

Commenter Abbi said...

MOI- You know I thought of you as I was writing this. :D.

I think there is a wide spectrum of work/life balance, even in Israel, though I think on the whole, since Israeli society values children more in general, family obligations are more accepted/respected.

I know only one woman who works till extremely late, as she is in a management position and for some bizarre reason is also pursuing an MBA at night. Her mother seems to be picking up most of the slack, and her schedule is extremely difficult for her daughter. But this is the only woman I know who works like this. I'm sure she's not the only one in Israel, but I believe that she is the exception, not the rule.

It really does depend on where you live- in my community now, it's the SAHMs who are affluent/two car families and the two income families live in modest 4 room apartments or small homes in yishuvim, share a car and are far from affluent. The wife's income makes the difference between being the black and being in the red.

I think many of these latter families will definitely appreciate the tax break (myself included).

I can understand not wanting to support something you don't believe in and I think there should be some kind of child tax credit, possibly like they have in the state, especially now that child subsidies have been cut substantially.

Commenter Abbi said...

Rachel, thanks for chiming in and I'm glad I'm not completely crazy about the mommy war thing.

Though I work from home now, I was home with my oldest until she was 16 months (I also cared for my neighbor's baby daughter simultaneously during that time, so I guess I was also wahming then as well). I also got the constant questions of "What do you do with her all day?" But it was more curiosity then criticism. And in the end, though I had planned to have her home at least until age two, I did find that my daughter was extremely social and really wanted friends to play with, even at 16 months. So that kind of decided things for me and her.

I think Israeli moms are slowly waking up to the idea of staying at home. At the same time, I don't think SAHMs here are given as hard a time as working moms are given in the US.

mother in israel said...

"I think Israeli moms are slowly waking up to the idea of staying at home."
Absolutely. This is definitely a trend, but less so in the religious community.

Commenter Abbi said...

For anyone who doesn't believe me about there being a whole section on Amazon about "the mommy wars" check out this web page:


Jameel @ The Muqata said...

To Mother in Teaneck: I had never heard the term "Mommy Wars" prior to this post, but then again, I live here. Doing a simple google search revealed over 83,300 results for this query -- it's apparently a VERY real issue in the USA. Do the google search yourself; ABC News, Washington Post, Books on Amazon, CNN, etc., etc. -- Commenter Abbi brought up a very real issue from the US...which is less of an issue here.

Not everything in Israel is better than Teaneck, but pointing out specifics about the good things living here is what this blog is about.

I'm trying to promote living here, and not the Five Towns or Teaneck.

Anonymous said...

rachel --

when i had my child home with me until age 3 that was when we were living in the states! people in my nj community there thought i was insane having my child home that long... i was told that "socialization will be a problem later on..." anyway, when we got to israel, that child started 1st grade and quickly became one of the most well-liked kids in the class (still is, in kita vav) -- and that was even before learning hebrew. so much for early socialization.

Anonymous said...

It's nice to point out the good things about living in Israel, as long as they're accurate.
You can google just about anything and get 80,000 entries. The fact that you and the author of this post derived your information from second hand sources makes this all less than accurate. My sister lives in Israel and holds down three separate jobs to help make ends meet with her family. As the kids got older, they went to all these after school programs, but she would have much rather been home with them.
I guess my point is, if the author actually KNEW something about life in America, it would certainly make the argument sanguine. As it is, she likes Israeli daycare and likes her job. That's great-- but don't compare it to another country that you seem to know very little about , though I'm sure you were born here.
It's like comparing apples to googled oranges.
In case you don't know this, reading a piece about why Israeli life is better that is based on inaccuracies just makes people like myself feel like we're reading ill conceived propaganda.
Oh, and socialized medicine in Israel? You get what you pay for.
Chag Kasher VeSameach, MIT

Jack Steiner said...


I feel badly for all those poor souls stuck on the least coast. If you have to live in America you might as well pick a nicer place to hang out, such as LA.

Why anyone would live in New York, New Jersey etc is beyond me.

Commenter Abbi said...

MIT: So far, two commenters who've lived and raised children in America and Israel have confirmed my thesis. So, your claim that I'm comparing apples to googled oranges is extreme, to say the least.

I'm still confused as to why you are taking this post as a personal affront. I lived in the states till I was 24- I didn't exactly leave on the first plane as soon as I got out of the hospital.

"reading a piece about why Israeli life is better that is based on inaccuracies just makes people like myself feel like we're reading ill conceived propaganda."

MIT, my post related concrete facts about our social welfare system in addition to observations about how they've worked in the two communities that I've lived and raised children so far. What exactly is "inaccurate" about that? Do you in fact have 3 month paid maternity leave in America? Do you have high quality, low cost day care?

I never claimed that we are living in a utopia here (I think I said twice that we're not). And I certainly never claimed that every Israeli woman is living a carefree life where she gets to spend as much time as she wants with her children. I'm sorry your sister is having such a hard time. However, I'm not sure why her experience makes mine and others who've commented here "propaganda".

Anonymous said...

teaneck mom:

wow, you really have an axe to grind -- like i said before in my comment to you, the orthodox world in cosmopolitan teaneck, nj is hardly representative of the general american experience at large.

your comment slamming the health care system here is really quite... how shall i put it? i'd rather not say. i would not exactly praise the hmo/pps/pos/poc/powhatever system in the united states to the high heavens. (and what about americans who can't pay for any health insurance? e.r. medicine is not quite optimal, but it's that or nothing for them) i'm speaking as a new york born and bred, and former new jersey resident myself, and a fairly new thirty-something immigrant who has experienced the u.s. health care system firsthand. have you lived here and experienced life here beyond your parent-supported bubble of a sem year? or are you just slamming a system based on anecdotal evidence? in which case your comment could be categorized under pot, kettle, black. your sister needing to hold down three jobs to make ends meet is simply indicative of the personal choices she made, or a tough break. not everyone here lives that way, nor needs to. as a matter of fact, i don't personally know anyone in my urban, urbane, center-of-the-country community who does.

Anonymous said...

jack --

if someone's going to live in LA, they might as well come here already. we've got palm trees too and we're on the mediterranean for goodness sakes!

Anonymous said...

Your depiction of Israeli childcare is great and sounds wonderful. I'm sure it's accurate and every bit as terrific and supportive as you claim. In no way do I find that suspect.
The part that grinds on my nerves, and I'm sure on the sensibilities of any North American readers, is how you depict American conditions. You read a bunch of articles on American Mom Wars; you spoke to two friends who raised children here and they confirmed your observations. If you were a journalist (which I happen to be) your editor would have rejected your piece because of poor research and insufficient fact checking.
When I had my first child, the children's publisher where I was employed gave me nine weeks of maternity leave. They then gave me three months of working part time (21 hrs per week) for my former full salary. Then I was offered a position to telecommute at a very fair salary. It was marvelous.
Was my experience atypical? Perhaps. But reading your generalizations about how American moms function just made me sigh and shake my head. Other than a few anecdotal examples, you know nothing about being a parent in the United States. So praise Israel ad nauseum. But please, leave us out of it.
FYI, I'm not bitter about your little piece. It just lacks objectivity and lacks any true knowledge of half of your subject matter.
I guess you missed the ironic intent of the story about my sister (which actually is true and not atypical from what she tells me). My point was that I know NOTHING about childcare in Israel. And telling my sister's story does not make me an expert. Still, by siting it, I proport to know something. I do not. But I submit, that as far as the U.S. mommy market goes, neither do you.

Nikki, my husband is a doctor who spent two years in the Israeli health care system. Still, I don't consider myself an expert. Consider my remark about the Israeli system a toss away. It wasn't meant to be antagonistic; It was just an amused observation for anyone who praised the Israeli system as superior. Yes, our system is flawed. But I wasn't trying to praise it, just to note that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side. Still, as someone who spent time at a kupat cholim clinic in Be'er Sheva once, I will just say it made quite an impression.
Once again, Chag Kasher Vesameach, MIT

Commenter Abbi said...

Hmm, MIT, I'm not doubting your journalist credentials, but if you know anything about blogs, then you would immediately know that they are one person's observations about a particular facet of life: ie: an opinion piece. I hardly claimed to be doing an in depth, fully cited, research article on the differences in cultural attitudes towards motherhood in Israel and America.

Since so few actual news articles these days are objective, I didn't know that opinion pieces are now also required to be objective. Is this something new in the US publishing world? Because I've never heard of it.

Since you work in publishing, I have a really hard time also believing that you are not aware of the spate- rather, torrent- of books about working mom/SAHM debate. There's a new book out practically every week- one more vicious than the next. You're not aware of Caitlin Flannagan's call to "Love and Loath Our Inner Housewife"? Leslie Bennetts' "Feminine Mistake"? Judith Warner's "Perfect Madness" (and the whiny blog she had on NYT.com?)

These books and authors got a tremendous amount of press. Meg Wolitzer just came out with a novel last month about SAHMs called "The Ten Year Nap". That about says it all.

As I said in a previous comment, I fully recognize that real life rarely looks like media-depicted life. I have no doubt that many women find careers and job situations that work for them. My point, and I think I've repeated it a number of times already, is that our culture and social welfare system here make it much easier to find these types of jobs and careers and manage the work/life balance. We simply depend less on luck then you do.

And I was fully up front about the fact that I was comparing our experience here with how American motherhood is depicted in the media. (And sorry I wasn't clear, but I meant the US media. No one here really cares about American women's angst, least of all the Jerusalem Post. )

The fact is, there are no Israeli women writing anguished accusatory books about working or staying home. Israeli mothers aren't accusing each other damaging their kids when they go to work nor are they accused of giving up some feminist cause if they stay home or "opt out". I found that to be curious. And I came to the conclusion that a big reason why we don't have this debate is we have vastly different attitudes towards working women and parenthood in addition to the fact that family life much more fully supported here, both culturally and governmentally, then in the US. A number of commenters supported this contention, again, from their own experience.

That's cute that you wanted to play a little game, but I'm not really clear on what point you were trying to make.

Anonymous said...

teaneck mom --

the point i was making in my first comment to you was that living in teaneck does not provide you with enough of a worldview to say that abbi's post is wrong. she is not wrong. there wouldn't be so much written about it if it was. if you try to google something that doesn't exist, google won't find it, i've tried that. if you reread my 1st post you'll see that i explained why you probably don't see the mommy wars there, (and teaneck new jersey is one of the nj communities in which i have lived). as a journalist, you should recognize that you live in a unique place, some would even say priviliged and not necessarily from an economic point of view. same could be said about my community, and having been raised on the south shore of long island i have what to compare.

as far as your one experience in a beer sheva clinic, as a journalist, you should also know to be more objective than to denigrate an entire system on one experience. spend time in a ramat aviv gimmel clinic, you'll have a much different experience, one probably closer to what you're used to, though it's not a single stand-alone doctor's office -- where many of us go anyway. you wouldn't assume that a clinic in an economically disadvantaged area is wholly representative of the entire american health care system, would you? i wasn't saying that socialized medicine is a better system, (though any american who's had trouble paying for it wil tell you it's broken, so might your husband) nothing is perfect, i wasn't saying that. what i did say was that it allows for a less stressful career path -- no one here has to stay in a job they hate because they need the insurance -- a very real problem in america. it's easier to change career paths when you don't have to worry about it, which in turn opens more doors to mothers to choose to do what they want to do. my point was not to tout the medical system here as better than america's but the concept does contribute to a more favorable work/life balance, which ties in to abbi's original post.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Teaneck Mom (MIT):

Regarding Israel's socialized medicine: People I know personally in America have been rather brutalized by the US healthcare and HMO system.

Over the past 10 years, I have only seen improvement in Israel's healthcare system. It's easier in the cities that in the hityashvut because its harder to get doctors to come out, but we're extremely pleased with our pediatrician. In fact, there are enough superlatives for me to describe his professionalism and care.

Lion of Zion said...


it's funny, because living here in america i've never heard of "mommy wars." i only know of it from israeli blogs (like mom in israel).

personal experience: i have 5 close friends (4 in teaneck, 1 in woodmere). 2 barely work and 3 don't work at all. none take any flack for this, as far as i know. in our circle my wife is the only one who works full time (but we'll see what she has planned if i ever grow up and finish school)

regarding the comment above about the difficulty of finding part-time work in america: not necessarily true. just one example: this is the reason so many religious girls go into OT/PT/speech etc. (great $ and you can literally work as little as 30 min a week if that's what you want)

the nursing hour sounds nice. my wife had problems finding time (and especially space) to pump at work

looking forward to more posts

mother in israel said...

Actually the nursing hour is not an Israeli invention. It's part of some international agreement about the rights of employed women. Israel signed and it applies to a few countries.

Commenter Abbi said...

LOZ: On the issues of PT/OTs: Again, another example of how frum women who want flexibility are limited in America. Women here aren't forced into teaching/ ot/pt if they want to ever see their families.

When i was in Stern, the ot/pt track was a joke. (not that it wasn't serious, it's just what practically EVERYONE did.)

As for the mommy wars, if you read a lot of mommy message boards/ blogs, and the articles that come out at regular intervals, you can acquaint yourself very quickly with the issues. I'm sure that the women in your circle who don't work don't take any flack, because SAHMing in America is the preferred norm vs. working.

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