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Monday, October 24, 2011

Who Couldn't Use a Jewish Grandmother?


My lifelong friend Ellen, whom I’ve known since 4th grade, is Jewish.  I, on the other hand, am Italian.  We lived a block away from each other and spent a lot of time in each other’s houses.  Holidays, birthdays, after school, weekends – we couldn’t get enough of each other. We loved everything about it, including our ethnic grandparents.

So for me, reading The Smartest Woman I Know was like that first delicious sip of a steaming glass of lemon tea for my soul.  Ilene Beckerman writes with the clear voice of her Jewish grandmother and shares precious tidbits of her wisdom for each of us to treasure.  I can almost hear my friend Ellen’s grandmother saying the same things.

About food:  The right food can solve any problem – pot roast and potatoes for depression, blintzes with sugar and sour cream for moodiness.  (Who can argue with that?)

About elevators:  “Why ride up and down in a closet?  On the escalator, if there’s a fire, I can get off in a hurry.”

About the word "So":   “So I’ll tell you how to lose weight.  Don’t eat so much.”    

About men:   “A husband is like buying new shoes. You might find something you like right away, but if it’s not a good fit it will never make you happy.”

If you’ve got an ethnic bone anywhere in your body, you’ll enjoy this little tome packed with the wit and wisdom of a generation.  Maybe you’ll start to think of a few things your grandmother used to say.  Maybe you’ll even write them down.  So who’s stopping you?


8 comments:

Eileen said...

Love this! I could literally fill a book with my own Jewish grandmother's wit and wisdom (and the occasional superstition and curse, LOL)
She preferred the fairly typical eastern European diet which was heavy on the carbs, fats and dairy products. My mother would try to tell her not to eat butter (the prevailing wisdom at the time was that margarine was healthier!), and my grandmother's stock answer to any suggestion that she stop doing something she liked doing: "if not now, when?"
Words to live by. And BTW, with all the butter, she was nearly 98 when she died.
You go, grandma!

Brenda said...

It's funny that I am reading this today because I was just joking with a teacher friend of mine. We both have celtic last names, but our mothers are Italian, so we were raised more in their ethnic identity. I forget exactly what we were talking about, but I said "you know you are not Italian unless you have an Italian mother. It's like being Jewish, you have to get it from your mother's side."

So true with ethnic upbringing....you are what your mother is!

heathertlc said...

My mom's side of the family is Italian & Irish and my grandmother DEFINITELY sound like the one in this book. What a wonderful little read!

Thanks for being a part of the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

Aimeslee said...

gREAT STORY! Love that, "so what's stopping you?" winkwink xoxo

urban muser said...

sounds like an interesting book! thanks for sharing this.

Holli said...

I love this Teri... what a great post!

Monica said...

I tried to leave a comment yesterday as i too had a Jewish friend growing up and we remain friends. Sandra lived at #5 on the Avenue, in the tree lined section and I was at # 19in the semi detached section. Sandra's family were noisy colorful and warm; Everything the opposite to my family. She was raised to be a Jewish Princess(her words) and ended up on welfare before collecting SSI. She now lives with her daughter and many, many closets of clothes. We have another neighbor we grew up with who lives in Canada and we all meet in Florida once a year. People's personality never changes sometimes it smooths out a little and with others it gets more so. Sandra has not changed.

Thauna said...

For the past few days I've been trying to remember sayings that my Grandma said...I think I'm going to ask in our family FB page. I feel that I've forgotten something important!