Mothers and Their Teen Daughters, in Conversation

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Mothers and Their Teen Daughters, in Conversation by Elizabeth Mandel

jGirls Magazine was born of motherhood and daughterhood. I am the mother of three daughters, and one of three daughters myself. As young children, my girls were assertive, loud, opinionated and fearless. These were exactly the qualities my husband and I wanted them to have as we sent them out into the world as young women.

I knew, though, from my own experience that as they moved toward their teen years, social and cultural pressures might urge them to be quieter, smaller, less-than. How could I support them—and their peers—in continuing to value their own voices, celebrate their accomplishments, feel less alone in their struggles through the teen years? How could they connect with other Jewish girls with a range of experiences and identities also figuring out who they are and who they wanted to become?

Out of this grew jGirls Magazine. This online community and magazine features content created exclusively by self-identifying Jewish girls and is curated by a 15-member teen editorial board. These remarkable young women bring their diverse perspectives to bear on the editorial process. Our pages reflect the glorious mosaic of what it means to be a young Jewish female today—and amplify and elevate those voices.

jGirls Zoom - Hadassah Magazine
A jGirls Zoom Session

When Lisa Hostein, Hadassah Magazine’s executive editor, and I discussed a joint project between our publications, we saw an opportunity for grown women to tell their own stories in conversation with their daughters, a discussion between two generations we each serve. We asked jGirls’ editors to help us develop questions that they would find meaningful to discuss with their mothers. The questions we landed on give these six mother-daughter pairs an opportunity to unpack their dreams and fears, similarities and differences, untold stories and the impact of Judaism on their lives.

Particularly in this time of social distancing, when so many are being forced apart while simultaneously spending more time at home and with family than usual, we are delighted to bring you these snapshots of mother-daughter dialogue. We hope these interviews—and those featured in the related posts, Pride and Hope in Their Daughters’ Generation and Empowering Their Daughters to Change the World—inspire you toward similarly fruitful, relationship-expanding discussions with the girls and women in your life, across generations.

All interviews were edited for brevity and clarity.

This article was originally published as the intro to a series in Hadassah Magazine, May/June 2020. You can read about the collaboration and all six conversations here.

 

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