Jewish Mother Guilt- want some?

13 Jan

Written by Melissa Chapman from Married My Sugar Daddy

I LIVE, BREATHE and yes EAT guilt, as in, when I’m feeling guilty there is no tool to stave it off better than a pint of cookie dough ice cream. I’ve got guilt coursing through my veins- namely because I was raised in a very strict Orthodox household and went to a hardcore Yeshivah. Yes, I got all the training and was primed to be a nice religious girl- until the end of tenth grade when I decided I needed to be free of gemarah, rashi and halacha. So, I dropped out of Yeshivah high school and high tailed to the mean streets of public high school and set the precedent for a guilt induced adulthood.

Fast forward so many years later and I am a ball of guilt over that decision. In fact I have one recurring nightmare that plays on a constant loop every couple of months after which I wake up a sweaty hot mess. In fact I had one the other night.In my dream  I am a 38 year old woman, sitting in my high school Yeshivah, trying to explain to my teachers- that I already graduated from college. I ask them repeatedly   why I need to take the chumash test. I explain to them that I’m an adult and that I should not be in high school. Still the rabbi sits me down and tells me to stop asking so many questions and focus on  the test.

My mother has never forgiven me for not graduating from Yeshiva high school- and in true Jewish mother guilt fashion, doesn’t give me any credit for the 10 years of yeshivah I clocked. If I’m having  a bad day, if I get a fever, if my kids are acting up- my mother will say, “well you didn’t graduate from yeshivah, and her voice will trail off,” as if to say, had I graduated– all these “problems” would evaporate. (Because Yeshivah graduates NEVER get fever, they never have bad days and their kids are perfect little kinderlach). And, the cherry on the top, she still tells people that I did indeed graduate from yeshivah. To which I usually just nod– and think, more guilt – OY, I’m such a familial disgrace.

You would think the way my mother speaks about the year my life took a downward spiral ( aka the year I left the Yeshiva fold for parts unknown) that I started hooking on the streets and shooting cocaine up my veins. You would think when speaking with my mother about how I RUINED our family’s yichis (reputation), leaving Yeshivah was a transgression I could never overcome–and it was a domino effect that led me to a life of debauchery.
Truth be told leaving Yeshivah opened a world of possibilities for me and I was finally able to focus on my strengths.  It was at this “debauchery filled public high school” ( I say that in jest)  that I learned what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I was free, and it felt FREAKIN great. But of course if you ask my mother she will tell you it was the beginning of my undoing. But lest you think my life has spiraled into a bad girl mess– let me mention that I’m NOT hooking on the streets, that I married a nice Jewish doctor (who’s not religious, so it really didn’t count) and that IRONIES OF ALL IRONIES I now send my own kids to yeshivah.

It’s the guilt I tell you, that now has me  forking over money to pay for my kids’ Yeshivah tuition, it’s that Jewish Mother’s guilt. Want some?!
Melissa Chapman

Melissa Chapman is an ex-yeshiva girl who married a nice jewish doctor–but her happily ever after didnt go exactly as planned.

She writes about her marriage and everything in between at

She writes for Lifetime Moms,, Momtourage and shares musing about living on Staten Island at

Please join her on her guilt trip as one of the MOTHA’s.

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3 Responses to “Jewish Mother Guilt- want some?”

  1. Jenny From the Blog January 13, 2012 at 8:19 AM #

    Most of my conversations start with the amount of time it’s been since my last call. Which is usually no longer than a week span. I imagine my DAD has a calendar specifically for phone calls. He’s the ultimate Jewish mom. My mom, she just calls and calls until I pick up.

  2. Tracy Beckerman January 13, 2012 at 10:02 AM #

    My mother is the queen of the guilt trip. She can’t help it… there is, like, 7 generations of jewish guilt blood coursing through her veins. But she has met her match in me. I have 8 generations of jewish guilt blood in mine! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

  3. Lori Stefanac January 13, 2012 at 1:04 PM #

    Oh Melissa. I need to meet your mom. She will undoubtedly come running to apologize for ever doubting your Jewishness.
    The ways in which I’ve disappointed my parents are almost too numerous to list.
    Let’s see… I married a Shegitz…
    I make my matzo brie with bacon and cheese…
    Um, and I drink….during the day. But not while driving…because the bumps in the road make me spill.
    And at the last temple Purim party, when the Rabbi asked if I was having a good time, I MAY have responded with “Fuck Yeah!”.
    We no longer belong to the synagogue.
    I’ll just pass my number along to you.
    Jenny has it.

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