It seems like nearly everybody has a YouTube channel or blog these days. Marion Haberman has one of each, called MyJewishMommyLife. The 34-year-old Washington resident started YouTubing about raising children in a Conservative Jewish home in 2017. She’s up to 250 videos and has 15,000 subscribers.
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism has taken note. It recently gave Haberman the Shoshana S. Cardin Leadership Award.
Why did you start your YouTube channel?
The genesis of my channel was when I started thinking about [my son’s] bris and searching for videos about it because I had never been to one. The information people go to YouTube for is that real-life experience. I could go online and see what is a bris and what you need to prepare, what to wear, what your invitations should look like.
I went on YouTube to find those details and realized there were no Jewish moms out there putting out this content. There were very few on Instagram and some Orthodox women sharing recipes, but that was about it. I just felt like I wanted to share [my experience].
From the beginning, the most important thing was to have the channel recognized by the Jewish community.
What’s your favorite video that you’ve made so far?
House tours are really popular on YouTube. So, I made a Jewish house tour showcasing Judaica, ways in which our home is Jewish, like a Hebrew puzzle in my son’s nursery. I talked a lot about Jewish values in the home. It’s also one of my most popular videos.
What do you hope your channel does for people?
Social media are critical for engaging with the Jewish community and the future of Jewish life. For me, it was a big goal to be recognized by the USCJ.
What’s interesting is that from a lot of the comments [on my videos], a lot of the people who watch aren’t Jewish. By putting up videos showing that a Jewish home is really like any other home, It allows people who have never met a Jewish person — and there are a lot of people like that — know what being Jewish is like. To see “they’re just like me.”
Has your relationship with Judaism changed since becoming a mom?
It definitely has fundamentally shifted, because now I see everything as my chance to pass along my love of Judaism to my children and especially doing everything for YouTube has made me even more excited to do things.
Of course I love doing Jewish crafts with my kids, but maybe I wouldn’t have the energy.
Now I’m passionate because I want to showcase it to others. It kind of forces me to do it and then in the end, I’m so happy I’ve done it. Seeing my kids discover and benefit from that experience is really motivating.
What’s your next project?
What I really want to do is a series on the whole mourning ritual. I’ve covered births, weddings and bat mitzvahs. I just put off mourning and shivah because it’s not a light topic.
I also have a book coming out. It’s called “Expecting Jewish” and it’s a millennial mom’s real guide to incorporating Judaism into pregnancy and how Judaism can be a blessing. Because often moms, myself included, are under the impression that Judaism doesn’t really come into play until the baby is born. But researching for the book I found that there’s so many ways Judaism can be helpful.
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