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I recently received a call from a journalist who asked me what I thought of the TV show "The Hottest Mom in America." The show, not yet sold to a network, is currently auditioning housewives desperately trying to convince producers that they are wonderful, hands-on mothers and also... well... hot. The reporter specifically wanted my opinion as a modern Jewish mom.

What did being Jewish have to do with my opinion on the show?

I'll admit I was initially stumped. What did being Jewish have to do with my opinion on the show? Shouldn't my reaction be the same regardless of my religion?  "Well," she informed me, "the contest actually held a special audition session after sundown the second day of Rosh Hashana to allow Jewish moms to try out."

Okay, that's something that probably wouldn't have happened years ago. And, honestly, I have quite a few friends who, through rigorous exercise, diet and surgical enhancements, would easily fit the bill. And, even more honestly, I am proud of the way I look, and, as I said to the reporter, would be quite flattered if someone suggested I try out. But... as a Jewish mom, what do I think....

Well, our tradition teaches us to be modest. In fact, the most observant in our community are religiously so. Our matriarchs were known for their beauty. Sarah was in and out of various kings' harems during her journey with Abraham and what was Esther if not the hottest gal in Persia (I know, she was not a mom, but Sarah ultimately was and same for Rachel and Rebecca -- also beauties)? But ultimately these women were lauded for their bravery, their strength and their faith.

Look, I get it, the "Smartest Mom in America" wouldn't get picked up by FOX. But does commercialization make it okay?

This is not "empowering" as the producers claim

My teacher said Judaism is more than a religion, it's a way of looking at humanity. And I agree with that statement. And so, answering the reporter's question Jewishly, I would say that this tawdry excuse for entertainment speaks to the very basest nature of humankind. This is not "empowering" as the producers claim--it puts women in the position of being most valued for superficial reasons. As Jews, we look deeper, value each other for intelligence, kindness, morality and true beauty (which requires inner beauty).

The winner of the contest will receive a modeling contract, but every mom already has a contract--once we have children, we become models. And as role models, we must think of our children. Sure, before you have a child, if your goal is to be hot--go ahead--it is your business (and for your mother to worry about). But which child really wants to see his mom up on a stage, showing off what G‑d (and Dr. Schwartz) gave her? I cannot begin to imagine the discomfort (or future analyst conversations) that would result.

And so, for my final answer, if you want to be "hot" that's between you and your husband--but as moms--let's keep the children out of it.

Meredith Jacobs is the author of The Modern Jewish Mom's Guide to Shabbat (HarperCollins, Feb. 2007.) To read more from Meredith and learn about her book, please check out her website.
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Sarah Z Israel December 24, 2009

Hot Momma I LOVE this piece - well expressed, honest, and thought provoking . Thank you for sharing your fabulous perspective. Blessings - Reply

Rodrigo Benavides Brownsville, Texas January 2, 2007

Model moms I love this article! It is indeed deplorable that women are noticed for superficial characteristics rather than valued and praised for the inner and incorruptable beauty which are morals and values. Borrowing from Dr. MLK Jr., women must be judged by the content of their character and not by the beauty standards of society. Reply

Anonymous Springfield, MO December 22, 2006

"Model Moms" article Thank you very much for this article. It is appreciated. Reply

Mia December 20, 2006

Excellent! Reply

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