"I told her a story that I first read as a single, and that I
appreciate more and more as my family grows," relates Adina.
"An impoverished mother of eight was walking outside one
morning, when she happened upon a fresh egg lying in the
grass. Thrilled to have some extra food, she took it home and
decided to cook it for her family. The problem, of course,
was that one egg couldn't feed ten people. 'Whom should I
give it to?' she thought. 'The baby? She could do with the
protein å but what about my teenagers? They need their energy
to learn. Maybe I can make an omelet and split it three ways.
No, that won't help anyone.'
"The mother cooked the egg, then covered it with a cloth, and
walked past her children to her bedroom. She locked the door
and sat down to eat the egg. 'Ima,' her children called
through the door. 'What are you doing in there?'
"What was her reply? 'I'm making a mother for you!' "
As parenting research has shown, very few Jewish mothers are
guilty of not loving their children enough. On the contrary,
problems often arise because mothers are so devoted to their
families that they neglect their own health and wellbeing.
"Mothers who don't work on 'making a mother for you' end up
burnt out, unwell or dysfunctional, without enough physical
and mental energy to nurture their spouses and offspring.
This is the reasoning behind the keytanat imahot,"
claims Basya W. "A few days away, with undisturbed sleep,
wholesome food that the ladies have time to sit and enjoy,
and some spiritual inspiration succeeds in rejuvenating the
women, body and soul."
Basya and Adina first organized an English-speaking womens'
getaway last summer. They were both a few months after birth,
and were exhausted. Their sympathetic husbands were happy to
send them to a hotel for a few days' rest, but the prices for
full board for individuals were prohibitive.
"We didn't want to go on an Israeli mothers' keytana,"
Basya declares. "Although we live in Israel, attending a
shiur or program in Hebrew requires intense
concentration, which is not particularly relaxing. Further,
there are definite differences between `Anglo-Saxons' and
Israelis, both in mentality and in their idea of a women's
"We decided to organize a getaway ourselves," Adina explains,
"the kind of keytana we would like to attend. "Of
course we didn't realize then how much work it would involve.
We needed two getaways just to recover from organizing the
The getaway last year was a resounding success. "The group
clicked; the atmosphere was positively charged. We relaxed,
we ate, we slept, we laughed, we swam, we worked on ourselves
in the optional Mothers Rejuvenation Workshop. All the
attendees from last year were inspired to change the way we
said Berachos and Amens, after the keynote lecture by the
Bobover Rebbetzin of Bat Yam."
This year, Basya and Adina decided to take some of the
organizational and financial pressure off by applying for a
subsidy from the Jerusalem Municipality's Department of
Chareidi Affairs (Agaf Chen Charedi). "They have been
incredible," Basya notes. "They negotiated a great price from
the hotel; they fought for a high level of kashrus and
tznius; and they went out of their way to fund an
"Tova, the municipal representative who helped us organize
the getaway, told us that the Department of Chareidi Affairs
were very excited about the concept of a keytana for
English-speakers," comments Adina. "They realize that this
target group have it much harder in many ways than their
Israeli counterparts, and were happy to subsidize this
Why might an English-speaking woman in Israel need a getaway
more than an Israeli? Any `Anglo-Saxon' immigrant can answer
that one. Israelis usually have a large extended family: of
parents, siblings and grandparents whom they can `invade'
with their own family for Shabbos, or ask for help when the
going gets tough. Immigrants leave their support system
behind, be these familial, financial or emotional. While
immigrants tend to become each other's support groups, there
is a limit to how far one can impose one large family on
Even the planning of the English-speaking getaway reflects
this. "Many of the keytanot are for three nights; ours
is only for two, as most of us do not have family here to
help out while we are away, which places a heavy burden on
the husband," says Basya. "We run the camp from Monday to
Wednesday, since starting on Sunday overstresses the mothers
to clean up from a late Shabbos and get everything ready in
time. Ending on a Thursday again stresses the mothers, who
have the rush to make Shabbos the minute they return."
This year, fifty or more English-speaking women from
Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Bnei Brak and Tsfat will enjoy the
gourmet food, beautiful gardens and the outdoor pool at the
Eden Inn Hotel in picturesque Zichron Yaacov at the end of
June. "We have a great program planned, but we don't want to
give away details, so we can surprise you."
[For more information, call Basya at 5852297 or Adina at