Jewish Mum of the Year TX: 30 Oct 2012, Week 44
This ambitious competitive four part series follows The Jewish News' first competition to scour Jewish communities across the UK to find the Jewish Mum of the Year.
The Jewish community make up less than 1% of the British population and can truly be described as a ‘minority' community. Yet the number of successful Jewish people in the UK is truly remarkable. Could it be down to the love and care of their Jewish mums?
In recent times the archetypal Jewish mother has come to epitomise what it means to be a mum. They are known for being brilliant home-makers, incredible cooks, driving successes, being overprotective, neurotically anxious and ever present - yet they are also an emblem of unstinting love and devotion.
The series will follow the diverse mix of mums, from traditional to modern, the working to the stay-at-home, form the ‘frum' to the reformed, as they fight it out through a series of gruelling tasks in their attempt to secure the title of Jewish Mum of the Year. The winning mum will become The Jewish News' first ever agony aunt.
In the first week the mums are tasked with throwing the ultimate Bar Mitzvah for 13 year old Ben and his 200 strong guest list. Will they be able to pull this off or will their differing approaches to faith and motherhood prevent them from getting anything done?
Judged by notable folk from the community - including actor, playwright and multitasking Jewish mum Tracy-Ann Oberman and Yiddish scholar Dovid Katz- each task will test their skills and offer insight into the diversity within the community as well as celebrating the wider notion of motherhood.
Yummy Mummy Emma, 40, from Radlett is a mother of five and is keen to prove there is more to her than her figure, face and fortune. From an Israeli family and a real "do-er" she is aware that people take one look at her and judge her. She doesn't like to stick to convention and despite having a fortunate lifestyle is far more interested in her kids than lunching and shopping with her friends. Emma runs a secular home and tends to turn tradition on its head - Friday night is family night, not necessarily the typical chicken soup and challah.
Jacqueline, 48 from Edgware, is an orthodox mother of six - ranging from a 14-year-old to two-year-old twin girls. Jacqueline wants to win Jewish Mum of the Year because she feels there is not a family situation, good and bad, that she hasn't been through. She never sits still and even though she has to juggle her own career as a musician with her family life she refuses to cut corners.
As part of a tiny Jewish community in Ireland Lesley, 45, really is in a minority and says there is just one shop in the whole country where she can buy Jewish food. Now separated, Lesley feels that as long as her daughters have a strong Jewish identity then she has done her job as mother well. She admits she is not the best cook but is not adverse to cutting corners to get the job done. Lesley wants to show British Jews how hard it is to be Jewish in Ireland.
Louisa, 43, a journalist from North London confesses she is known to friends as the Jewish Bree from Desperate Housewives. She's passionate about mums being at home for their children and isn't afraid to voice her opinion, especially on local radio, often calling in to have her say. Louisa's motto about her house would be "a place for everything and everything in its place". She is proud to be Jewish, would prefer her children to marry "in" but is happy to buck the trend as and when she sees fit.
Bubbly red head Maxine, 40, from Hendon keeps a strictly kosher home and has recently had the latest gadgets fitted, including two state of the art ovens, a Shabbat drawer and concealed washbasin in the dining room. Married to an Indian Jew, Maxine is the mother of four sons and is a very "hands on" mum. Maxine wants to prove that you can be a vibrant, fun and orthodox mum!
Orthodox Ruth, 50 from North London, is incredibly proud of her Jewish heritage and became more religious the older she became. Ruth always wears a sheitel (a wig). She met her Israeli husband when she worked at the famous Kosher restaurant Blooms and they went on to have a daughter. Now a single mum Ruth is incredibly close to her daughter and would be horrified if she married out of the faith.
65 year old Sandi from Leeds is a glamorous twice divorced granny - the eldest mum in the competition. Having survived two marriages, Sandi hasn't given up on finding true love and is now dating 68 year old Victor. When her first marriage broke down nearly 40 years ago, she brought up her two children on her own. Sandi started dancing nearly 18 months ago and has even won a dance competition.
Straight talking Tracy, 42, is an Essex divorcee who wants to win Jewish Mum of the Year to showcase that Essex mums are far more down to earth and modern than the stereotype of NW London Princess mums. Tracy is no push over and believes she is the ultimate modern Jewish mum, joining Facebook and Twitter to ensure she can share in all the fads her kids enjoy. She leads a liberal Jewish lifestyle, embracing the culture with a variety of Jewish friends and sending her kids to a Jewish school.
Task 1 - the Bar Mitzvah
The Bar Mitzvah is one of the most important milestones in a Jewish boy's life. At age 13 it signifies his transition from boyhood to manhood; it is also an excuse for his Jewish mum to throw a really great party. Our eight mums split themselves into pairs with each pair being tasked with organising a key element of the Bar Mitzvah celebration. The pairs have three days to organise either canapés & ice creams, the Bar Mitzvah cake, alcoholic & non-alcoholic cocktails & fruit carving, or goody bags and entertainment for the young guests.
Task 2 - Matchmaking
Many Jewish mums would like their children to marry ‘in' the community to ensure a continued line of the faith and culture. Our six remaining mums again work in pairs with each pair tasked with finding the perfect love match for a single Jewish girl. They have two days to find a suitable Jewish boy, groom him, coach him and prepare him to ensure a successful first dinner date. Each boy will get just one course to woo his date and her first impressions will definitely count.
Task 3 - Coach Trip
Traditionally Jewish families are close knit and spending time with and caring for elderly relatives is one of the many roles mum take on. For this third task our remaining four Mums are split into pairs with each group organising a memorable day out for elder members of the community. They have two days to organise and run a coach trip excursion for a group of 22 outspoken Jewish OAPs to Southend-on-Sea. Will it be memorable for the right reasons?
Task 4 - Friday Night Dinner
Our final two mums go head-to-head in the ultimate task for a Jewish mother. They must prepare, cook and host a five-course Friday night dinner for family, friends and surprise guests. They must also appear as guests on a radio discussion about ‘Modern Day Jewish Mothers' where their agony Aunt skills will be put to the test.
Episode 4/4, Tuesday 30th October, 9pm, Channel 4
The Jewish News has launched a competition across the UK and Ireland to find the Ultimate Jewish Mum. From all walks of Jewish life women applied and eight super mums were chosen to go head-to-head in the hope of being named Jewish Mum of the Year. The competition now reaches its climax as the two remaining mums must battle it out to win the title.
The final challenge is the mother of all challenges - the traditional Friday Night Dinner. The two mums must host separate dinners for 16 guests, including their own families as well as well-known Jewish celebrities including David Baddiel, Jay Rayner and David Schneider, the other mums from the competition and judges, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Professor Dovid Katz and editor of the Jewish News, Richard Ferrer. Friday night dinner is a time for family to come together, an opportunity for a Jewish mum to shine, and an occasion that is as much about the food as it is about the people.
Up for grabs is not only the title of Jewish Mum of the Year, but an all-expenses paid kosher cruise and the position of first ever resident Agony Aunt for the Jewish News. Before they get into the kitchen however the finalists must prove to Richard Ferrer that they have what it takes to be the paper's agony Aunt. They are set to task answering questions from listeners on a Jewish radio station, but will the battle over the microphone prove more important than solving the dilemmas of those calling in?
Each mum must now go on to create a traditional Friday night dinner, devising the menu, cooking the food, laying the table and eventually hosting their meal at a boutique North West London kosher hotel. With one mum choosing to do all her shopping the morning of the task it becomes clear that the two remaining hopefuls have very different ways of not only preparing their feasts but of what they consider a Friday Night Dinner to be.
In the kitchen the heat is turned up as every item of food must first be checked and verified by the hotel's Shoma - supervisor of kosher law. Once all the ingredients are given the seal of approval the competition really begins but an added surprise to proceedings is the return of one of the original mums from the competition arriving to lend a hand. However it seems it might be more a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth as opposed to the support the finalists hope for.
With each mum serving the all-important chicken soup and traditional platted bread the question is which soup will be tastier and will the guests prefer home-made bread or bread with a twist? When it comes time for their diners to be seated who will crumble under the pressure and who will rise to the occasion, to be crowned Jewish Mum of the Year?
Episode 3/4, Tuesday 23rd October, 9pm, Channel 4
The Jewish News launched a competition to find the Ultimate Jewish Mum. From all walks of Jewish life women applied and eight super mums were chosen to go head-to-head in the mother of all competitions - Jewish Mum of the Year. The four-part series continues and it's the semi-final week. With only four mums left they face a day trip with a difference - taking two groups of older members of the community to the seaside.
Traditionally Jewish families are close-knit and spending time with and caring for elderly relatives is one of the many roles mums take on. For this third task Editor of the Jewish News, Richard Ferrer, and judges Tracy-Ann Oberman and Professor Dovid Katz ask the remaining mums to split into pairs with each group organising a memorable day out to Southend-on-Sea for 22 outspoken Jewish OAPs... but will it be memorable for the right reasons?
The first pair opt for a disco theme and a simple packed lunch for their day-trippers. Despite cracks appearing in the team, whether it's how good their dance moves are, their sandwich cutting abilities or their musical skills, the pair comes up with a clear theme and entertainment schedule for their bus load. When the trip gets underway there are surprises in store for one of the mums as her team mate gets creative with a song to try to score some more brownie points with the judges.
The second pair of mums have visions of a more sophisticated lunch menu but, forgetting mobility issues, their buffet idea may fall short when it comes time to eat. Their entertainment plans include war songs and a 1940/50s movie theme but the red carpet won't stay put and some of their OAPs are less than impressed with the headgear on offer. After the coach is delayed when some smoked salmon goes missing it, it may not be all plain sailing down to the coast.
Entertaining 22 Jewish elders takes its toll on the four mums, and with one OAP opting to get the train home, it seems this challenge may have driven the mums to the limit. With two places in the final at stake will they be able to put the bickering behind them in the hope of being named Jewish Mum of the Year?
Episode 2/4, Tuesday 16th October, 9pm, Channel 4
The Jewish News is launching a nationwide competition to find the Ultimate Jewish Mum. From all walks of Jewish life women applied and eight super mums were chosen to go head to head in the mother of all competitions - Jewish Mum of the Year. The four-part series continues with six mums left. This week they face the formidable task of matchmaking.
Editor of the Jewish News, Richard Ferrer, and Judges Tracy-Ann Oberman and Professor Dovid Katz, explain the mission to the mums: they must find 29- year-old Brand Licensing Manager, Nicola the perfect match!
The mums need to make their chosen chap stand out from the competition but who will pull out all the stops to groom, coach and coax the best out of their Prince Charming, and will they be able to put their own taste aside in order for Nicola to be swept off her feet?
The first pair of mums choose Jamie as their prince to be, but when one of them let's slip the mystery girl's name it seems they may already know each other. Despite this, the mums don't give up on the possibility of any future romantic sparks.
The next pair go for Matt, a young man who is given a thorough preparation by one of the mums as she leaves no hair untouched, plucking and preening him within an inch of his life.
The final duo opts for Daniel but it seems they may have their hands full as the tempestuous nature of dating creates some friction between the threesome.
Come the big night, Nicola gets to enjoy one course with each of the hopeful men in an East London Kosher restaurant but with the mums looking on and offering ‘helpful' advice it doesn't all go to plan.
The competition will be over for two more mums by the end of the episode, but whose skills lacked the spark needed to ignite the match and who will be going on in the hope of being named Jewish Mum of the Year?
Episode 1/4, Tuesday 9th October, 9pm, Channel 4
The Jewish News is launching a nationwide competition to find the ultimate Jewish Mum. Women applied from all walks of Jewish life and eight super mums have been chosen to go head to head in the mother of all competitions - Jewish Mum of the Year. The four part series launches with the daunting task of organising the key aspects of a 13-year-old boy's Bar Mitzvah.
The Bar Mitzvah is one of the most important milestones in a Jewish boy's life. At age 13 it signifies his transition from boyhood to manhood; it is also an excuse for his Jewish mum to throw a really great party. Judges Tracy-Ann Oberman and Professor Dovid Katz, expect a show stopping cake as well as canapés, goody bags, entertainment and cocktails for over 170 of the boy's family and friends.
The mums split themselves into pairs to deliver one aspect of the task but will they remember the sense of occasion over their differences in taste and will their differing approaches to faith and motherhood prevent them from getting anything done?
Emma and Ruth are in charge of the goody bags and photo booth, but with Emma's self-confessed modern mum attitude up against Ruth's Orthodox views, the pair comes to blows over the colour of balloons and a jungle theme.
For Tracey and Lesley, it's the centre piece of the evening, the all-important Bar Mitzvah cake. However neither of them has baked before and when on the morning of the Bar Mitzvah they are played a surprise visit by world-renowned chef Heston Blumenthal they have to admit to using packet cake mix. Can Heston's tips save their cake and their chances?
Jacqueline and Sandi are in charge of a fruit display and cocktails and we see one of the mums enjoy her first ever taste of vodka - much to her own amusement! Despite this a tower of fruit is on the menu and things get in a shake when it's time for the cocktails to be served.
Finally, Maxine and Louisa try their hands at the canapés. Editor of the Jewish News, Richard Ferrer is a little dubious about their choice of cold soup for the teenager's coming of age, and it looks like the guests might feel the same. But will the judges appreciate their efforts?
At the end of the episode the mums face a show down with the judges. Two mums will be eliminated from the competition, but who will be going home to face the shame of not being the Jewish Mum of the Year?
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