I was born in the early 70’s, my parent’s joined a commune, and they were married by somebody name named Holy Herbert. The chances of me not knowing what false eyelashes are, are pretty much zero.

My Mother was beautiful, I mean genetically speaking. She stopped traffic, literally. When I was in high school, guys used to ask for my number to date her.

I remember being maybe 5 and watching her paste on false eyelashes. She was laughing at herself for doing it. She said something like, “baby learn to type, this fades. If you can type you’ll never need a man. Because you’ll always have a job.” Funny thing, even up to the point where up to the cancer left her bald, and the growth in her stomach made her look overweight, she still stopped traffic.

When she said that to me, she was 24. Wow, 24 and she was divorced with two small daughters putting herself through the Highline Community College, and after that the University of Washington. She graduated  Summa Cum Laude. She was as brilliant as her father.

She was the most amazing human being I’ve ever met. She also damaged me the most. The relationship between mothers and daughters is so fragile. Our mothers become our barometers for our own success. And Janice was a hard act to follow.

I remember being a kid and we’d go to the “Village Bakery and Tea Room” for coffee and croissants. She would spend two hours talking about the battles of WW2 or the civil war. She could talk about Matthew Brady’s Civil War Photos for hours. I learned to love history because of her. I made Aliya to Israel for her.

There have been more letters written to the NY Times and Seattle Times on behalf of Israel by my mother than anybody I know, I think they number well over 300. Like everything else she did, she believed and loved blindly. For better and for worse, that is an asset in my book.  She once said to me that the reason she knew her life was a success was because I lived in Israel. I kid you not, that was the nicest thing she ever said to me. There are so many things I wish I could say, like the time she rolled down the window and screamed at a Haradi guy that was picking his nose “And you call yourself holy”. She was a stickler for manners. Or when she held up a Kabab at Oren’s dad’s house and said “WOW, Shaul this tastes like pork, only because she knew how horrible he’d been to me.

There were a lot of things about my mom I won’t talk about because it’s too hard, but for me her best quality was her conviction. For everything, for social justice, for Israel, for the Huskies, for her grandchildren, for her friends, and for G-d. She wasn’t religious in the Orthodox sense, but believed in Mitzvot.  She believed in Tikun Olam.

I can only hope that my children learn ½ of what I learnt from my mom.

Because beauty really is only skin deep. You can look like a movie star and have no moral substance.

I’m lucky, my kids are beautiful. But I hope that I am giving them the tools to shine from the inside out.

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