The Jewish Mum of The Year
ABC 2 has been running the British TV competition Jewish Mum of The Year, which aired last year in the UK.
It’s an interesting show with a diverse range of Jewish Mothers competing in tasks such as planning a bar mitzvah, an old people’s day out and match making.
A remarkable fact that came out of the show for me was that only 0.4% of British people are Jewish, so it is quite a small community. I have always been of the belief that it is much bigger than that. Jewish people feature large in British business, politics, arts and entertainment and maybe it was the area that I lived in in the UK or the circles that I mixed in, but I am sure that they made up far more than 0.4% of the people that I knew there.
I was also surprised to read that prominent British and Jewish actress Maureen Lipman, who famously played a stereo typical Jewish Grandmother in a series of telephone ads, believed that the show was disgusting and damaging. She said that it was part of “the culture of humiliation on television” and compared it to shows like My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.
Personally I did not feel that the show was in the same genre. I did not see it as poking fun at Jewish mothers, well maybe gently and in an affectionate way and it certainly wasn’t making them out as grotesques, like the gypsies who spend little on housing, but obscene amounts on monstrous weddings, with bizarre wedding dresses.
I believe that the producers, along with The Jewish News, who apparently launched the competition, tried to and succeeded in selecting quite a diverse range of women, who could be found in any subsection of society.
Represented the Jewish Princess. She is young, attractive and more than a little spoilt. She did not appear to be particularly religious but said that she was proud to call herself a Jew. To me she came across as modern, trendy, a friend to her kids, but overly competitive and kind of bitchy to her competitors.
Has a heavy Scottish accent, seems a little old fashioned in some ways and always wears a hat. This may be something to do with her faith, but I always understood that Jewish women wore wigs for that reason. Jacqueline obviously leads a very full life as a musician/music teacher and mother of 6 children.
Is an Irish Jew, where they make up only a minute part of the population. Lesley unfortunately went out in the first round, so we did not get to see too much of her. But she came across as a likeable woman who was too busy getting on with life to be bothered with too much minute detail.
Is a similar character to Lesley, but from Essex, with a strong London / South East accent. She appears to be very down to earth and straight talking and has a similar disdain for detail as Lesley. She was fortunate not to go out with her in the first round, after they made an awful cake for the bar mitzvah, no corner was left uncut.
Was the other candidate who exited after the first round. Unfortunately she never left much of an impression at all.
Also came across as a likeable character. She survived to the second challenge, where her team had the misfortune to match the bachelorette with a man she already knew. Maxine was seen by the judges to have given up at that point and was given the axe.
Is an orthodox Jew who always wears a sheitel (a wig). She also met her end after the matchmaking episode. Ruth got on well with the man they put forward in the match, maybe a little too well. Regrettably he turned out to be quite obnoxious, both to his date and most of the viewing public, I would imagine.
Is one of the older competitors and comes across as typically middle class, well spoken, polite and tries hard. Sandi has survived to battle out the final with Jacqueline.
I would be interested to hear the view of American Jews on the show and what they think of their counterparts across the pond.
The final of Jewish Mum of the Year is on ABC2 on Wednesday at 8:30PM
By Max Power
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