Weekly Interview: A Mother in Israel


I seem to have been reading Hannah’s blog for as long as I have been reading Treppenwitz, in other words since I started reading blogs more than three years ago. The topics she blogs about are varied and often thought-provoking and I am sure I am not the only one who is inspired by her outlook. Thank you Hannah; I am delighted to welcome you on this blog.

Can you introduce yourself in a few words?

I’m a mother of six and a volunteer breastfeeding counselor. My two oldest sons are training in the Israeli army and my youngest is 6.

What is your religious background (if any)?

My parents were kosher and Sabbath observant, but not Orthodox. My mother escaped Hitler’s Germany with her family. My father, born in Poland, survived the war under a false identity while living in Germany. I became Orthodox in high school.

When and why did you decide to make aliyah?

I considered making aliyah while studying here after high school, but my husband was the one most set on the idea. His siblings all live here now, while my family lives in the US.

Where in Israel do you live and is there a special reason you live there?

We live in Petach Tikva. The only jobs in his industry are in this part of the country, and he doesn’t enjoy a long commute. There is a close-knit English speaking community here along with a religiously, ethnically, and socio-economically diverse Israeli population. Petach Tikva has about 200,000 people. With its new, upscale neighborhoods along with better-priced older neighborhoods, it’s a top destination for young couples looking to buy apartments. Intel, IBM, ECI and Bezeq all have headquarters here.

When and why did you start blogging?

I started A Mother in Israel in June 2006. I found I had a lot to say about parenting and life in Israel in general. I never run out of ideas, although I don’t always manage to mold them into a post. I started Cooking Manager last year as a more professional blog. When I began working with young mothers I saw that many were “starving” for information about how to make things from scratch, use up leftovers, and save on time and grocery bills. My mother, who had rheumatoid arthritis, had limited motion. She was always looking for more efficient ways of doing things, and I think in that way as well.

Have you been surprised by the way your blogging activity has evolved over the years?

I didn’t realize how involved I would be in it, so many years later. It’s hard to run both blogs, and I find myself focusing on one for a time, then the other. Doing it well means staying on top of the trends and technology. This is not my strong point, but I know others who find it even harder. One problem is that much of the technical information is written for other tech bloggers. It’s harder to find good information for beginners, but it’s out there.

To what extent do you feel your blogging activity reflects on the global perception of Israel?

Good question! I often write about unpleasant phenomena in Israel. One commenter wrote that based on a story I reported on and a few others she had read, “Israel’s culture must be messed up.”
I consider my primary audience to be English-speaking immigrants like myself. It’s important for us to have a place to talk about the things that affect us. And sometimes I am compelled to stand up and say I don’t agree with what a particular group or individual is doing. Still, I do write with “global perception of Israel” in mind and censor myself frequently.
I don’t like extremes in blogs so I avoid those that are full of constant complaints about politics, Israel, haredim, or anything else, and I dislike blogs that always present a rosy picture.

What post(s) are you most proud of?

I’m proud of the comments section as well.

A Mother in Israel:
Frugal Tips to Save Money as Your Family Grows, some of these are things I wish I had known before I had kids.
Why the Average Haredi Family Goes to a Hotel for Pesach, a humorous look at cleaning advice.
Street Goats in Bnei Brak
Are Mature Religious Women Leaving the Fold?
In Defense of Israeli “Rudeness”

Cooking Manager:
Extreme Frugality: Twenty Memories of My Mother
Is This Food Safe to Eat?
My Mom, Food Processors, and Norene Gilletz
Interview with Ilana-Davita

Would you care to share a blog or two you enjoy?

I’ve started reading Aliyah By Accident. Gila writes with humor and attention about day-to-day life with her kids. Robin, Life in Israel, Baila, Israeli Kitchen, Kate, Muqata, Orthonomics, Leora and of course you are all friends I enjoy reading along with many others.

Ilana-Davita, like many bloggers I like to talk about myself so thanks for putting me in the spotlight!

Last week’s interview