Yesterday, in honour of #IWD, I wrote about my thoughts as a mom to 3 boys. Today, I want to share about the women in my life who have inspired me, supported me, and made me who I am today. In fact, 3 of them know first hand the hardships of losing basic human rights, being silenced and getting subjected to atrocities out of their control.
First is my great-grandmother who was a force to be reckoned with. She survived both World Wars and lived independently until her early 90s. During World War II she fled to Russia with my grandmother. They hid in the woods until they were liberated. When they immigrated to Israel she helped my grandmother raise her kids (my dad & his sister) while my grandmother went on to become a scientist. Her team was credited with discovering the benefits of vitamin B12.
My maternal grandmother was the sole Holocaust survivor of her family. After the Holocaust she immigrated to Israel with my grandfather & they started their life together without a penny to their names. My grandmother used her wits and her strong interpersonal skills to build a life for herself. She was one of my biggest role models as a teen and I still think about the stories and lessons she taught me often.
However, my biggest role-model to this day is my mom. A trailblazer of her own. While she got married at 19 & had her first child at 20 (not uncommon for her generation), she still continued her education & received her University diploma. She went on to get a job when most women of her generation stayed at home. Yet I still remember her making me birthday cakes from scratch. At the age of 33, she immigrated her whole family to a foreign country. She left EVERYTHING she knew and had behind all for the betterment of my brothers and I. She wanted us to have the opportunities that she didn’t have. She wanted us to have a better life. She worked hard, often taking on 2 jobs at a time. She always pushed me the hardest because she believed in me and my abilities. She knew I could do better... be better. She taught me to push harder, dream big and believe in myself! She is the reason I am where I am today. My hope is that one day I’ll be half the woman she is!