ONE BABY STEP AT A TIME: Seven Secrets of Jewish Motherhood

ONE BABY STEP AT A TIME: Seven Secrets of Jewish Motherhood
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    ONE BABY STEP AT A TIME: Seven Secrets of Jewish Motherhood

    by Chana (Jenny) Weisberg

    Hardcover, 302 pages
    Urim Publications, 2007 
    ISBN: 978-965-524-001-6

    One Baby Step at a Time is a collection of eye-opening personal essays, inspirational readings, and refreshingly honest interviews that will uplift, validate, and provide practical suggestions to improve the life of every Jewish mother. In this sequel to her critically-acclaimed book Expecting Miracles, author Chana (Jenny) Weisberg describes seven ancient Jewish secrets that have enabled Jewish women throughout the millennia to infuse their mothering lives with more happiness, fulfillment, and spirituality.

    About the Author:
    Chana (Jenny) Weisberg is the author of Expecting Miracles: Finding Meaning and Spirituality in Pregnancy through Judaism (Urim). She is the creator of the popular website,, and her widely-read articles on parenting and Judaism have appeared on,, and in The Jewish Press. Originally from Baltimore, she lives with her husband and five children in Jerusalem.

    Praise for One Baby Step at a Time
    "Guest Posting From My Wife - One Baby Step At A Time: 
    I just completed Chana Weisberg's new book, One Baby Step at a Time: Seven Secrets of Jewish Motherhood, in under one week's time. This is an amazing feat because it is probably the first book I have read in its entirety since my third baby was born almost 16 months ago. It is truly an inspiring, honest, heart-warming and thought provoking book compiled of essays, helpful hints and tidbits and interviews with many Jewish women from varying backgrounds. 

    Upon receiving the book, I was eager to begin reading it, so I packed it in the car on my way to take my three year-old to nursery school. I read the first two introductions pages at a stop light (one that usually takes at least three minutes to change.) The small section I read moved me to tears. I think in part because Ms. Weisberg makes honest statements and as a mother of three children, five years-old and under, it is incredible for me to read that another mother admits that being a mother is the hardest job, that there are ups and downs and that she wanted to write a book to inspire and encourage Jewish mothers around the world. 

    I found myself sitting down to write this review and realized that going back through the book, I marked many, many pages that inspired me. Almost too many to cite for you in this review. To keep it short and sweet, and without revealing too much detail, the book provides SO many helpful tidbits and ideas to make being a mother easier. 
    One particular section I found that changed my outlook was the comment that the word "Mother" in a child's eyes is analogous to Hashem in an adult's eyes. Just as an adult would never want Hashem to turn away in their time of need, a child would not want his mother to turn away in his time of need. I read this section and in the same day my three year-old called out to me in the middle of the night. Admittedly, in the past, I have gone to check on him and sometimes, we just tell him to go back to bed. But, this time when he called out, I thought about the idea in the book, and I went to check on him and visit with him in his room. I could see in his precious eyes at 2 AM, that he really did call out to me and needed me at that moment it time. Truly a precious moment in time. 

    As mothers, we also need to be easier on ourselves. We often say YES to too many things and expect ourselves to be perfect. It is okay to admit we have harder days. It is okay to ask for help. And, it is okay to let things wait until another day, like folding laundry or cleaning the house. Related to this she discusses the website. Curious, I checked out the site and signed up for the daily email digest. In it is a bunch of really clever and useful hints. 

    In conclusion, Ms. Weisberg gives us an honest account of Jewish motherhood. In her collection of essays, tidbits and interviews, she shines light onto motherhood and also provides us a book to recommend to friends and family." 
    - A Simple Jew blog 

    "Having babies is something that we don't anticipate stopping, so this book should serve families for a long, long time. It is a collection of eye-opening personal essays, inspirational readings, and refreshingly honest interviews that will uplift, validate, and provide practice suggestions to improve the life of every Jewish mother. In this sequel to her critically-acclaimed book, Expecting Miracles, author Chana (Jenny) Weisberg describes the seven ancient Jewish secrets that have enable Jewish women throughout the millennia to infuse their mother lives with more happiness, fulfillment, and spirituality." 
    - Dov Peretz ElkinsJewish Media Review 

    "When my first baby was born, I badly missed guidance for life with this new wonder. Where were the written instructions that I should have delivered together with the infant? How I wished for a handbook of what to do and feel, of when, why and how -- a book to pat me on the shoulder and steady my hand! 
    Finally such a book came off the print. Chana Weisberg did the writing, and Urim Publications did the printing. Although, believe it or not, my first baby is a grandfather, I find the volume, One Baby Step at a Time: Seven Secrets of Jewish Motherhood, the handbook I have been waiting for. 
    Chana (Jenny) Weisberg, the Internet's "Jewish Pregnancy Lady" confides the seven timeless secrets of Jewish wisdom that have enabled women throughout Jewish history to enrich their lives and those of their families with spiritual harmony. Chana Weisberg's revelations serve as a practical guide for young mothers groping in the fog of inexperience. 

    One Baby Step at a Time serves as a virtual sequel to the author's first book, Expecting Miracles; Finding Meaning and Spirituality in Pregnancy Through Judaism, in itself a portrait of the world of miracles, of faith, of G-d-intoxication, that Chana Weisberg so subtly and masterfully paints. 
    This later work, in addition to historical secrets of Jewish motherhood, is an anthology composed of Chana Weisberg's own trials, tribulations and delights of motherhood; autobiographical essays about "the joys and hardships" of "abrupt transition from being a full-time student" to becoming a full-time mother, peppered with wise tidbits gleaned from the teachings of professional educators. The closing section -- interviews done with seven young mothers who reveal their parenting experiences, the lessons they learned and the conclusions they drew from them -- serves as an apt finale to this volume. 

    Chana Weisberg's popular website is receiving as many as 25,000 visitors a month. She started the website as a young mother, five years after her marriage to Rabbi Joshua Weisberg, director of the Post-High-School program at Nishmat: the Jerusalem Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women. 

    "We met in Jerusalem, and married here as well, in 1996," Chana reveals. Now she is the mother of five: the oldest, ten-year old Hadas is a fourth-grader, seven-year old Hallel is in the second grade, five-year old Maayan is in kindergarten and two-year old Moriah is followed by ten months-old Yoel. 
    How did it happen that Jenny Freedman, who was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, receiving her elementary education at "Friends' School" and her higher education at Bowdoin College in Maine, embarked on a voyage to the spiritual radiance of Judaism? 
    As with many other young Jews, Jenny's journey to the Torah began with a trip to the Land, and it was the impact of Israel's magic that prompted her process of teshuva, "return" to the faith, simultaneously with her aliya, "ascent" to the Land -- making her home in Israel. Israel the Land is an integral part of the indivisible "triple cord" (chut ha-meshulash) of our existential entity as Jews -- the Torah of Israel, the Land of Israel and the People of Israel. Membership in the congregation of the People obliges embracing the other two aspects of our existence. 

    Motherhood is undoubtedly a holy task: this is the secret revealed in Chana Weisberg's work. Besides her unique book, her series of two-minute films called "The Real Jewish Moms Film Series" on her website, help mothers sense spiritual bliss in the midst of their demanding, all-absorbing and often difficult responsibilities. 

    "By the time you put down this book, I pray that you will be able to smile at the truth of the statement: 'Mothers are changing the world one diaper at a time,'" Rebbetzin Weisberg remarks. "May this book validate our experiences at the same time that it inspires us and empowers us to make Jewish motherhood a bit easier and smoother, infusing our mothering lives with more happiness and holiness," Chana Weisberg writes in conclusion. 

    Having read her book, I wish to reassure the author that her aspirations have been admirably achieved." 
    Livia Bitton-Jackson, The Jewish Press 

    " A description of seven ancient Jewish secrets that have enabled Jewish women throughout the millennia to infuse their mothering lives with more happiness, fulfillment, and spirituality." 
    Jewish Book World 

    "One Baby Step at a Time is one of the most amazing books I've read." 
    Chana Billet 

    "For those who can't wait to read the book, Weisberg reveals her seven secrets under these categories: Learning to value our mothering accomplishments, Learning to let God help you out, Figuring out what we need to be happy, Learning to value our supporting and nurturing role, Learning to value our role in the home, Choosing to grow from hardship, and Don't worry, be hopeful. If it seems that the list focuses more on the mother's attitude than on concrete parenting techniques, you're right. 
    While there are certainly joys in being a parent, there are also many times of boredom, frustration, seemingly endless repetition, pain, and fear. Weisberg's essays deal with the day-to-day issues of motherhood. She stresses the need to fi nd meaning in everyday tasks and to fi nd balance among children, spouse, household chores, God, and most importantly, self. 
    Some readers might be put off by her common refrain to rely on God, but there are plenty of suggestions to help non-religious parents as well. She points out the importance of parenting classes, spouse, friends, and community. While written from the point of view of an Orthodox stay-at-home mother in Israel, her stories and tips could help parents in a variety of other situations. 
    Weisberg acknowledges that our priorities and perspective change over the years and that our parenting skills and styles change also. She offers suggestions and techniques that worked for her and in other essays, gives different strategies that worked for other parents. Recommended for synagogue and community libraries." 
    Sheryl Stahl, AJL Newsletter 

    "Any woman who has small children or who has just given birth will appreciate tremendously the tips, insights, dilemmas and stories in this book, Chana (Jenny) Weisberg's humility is evident throughout the book; she lets each woman who speaks in the book keep her own voice. There is no one party line. Some of the women are avid nursers; some did not like nursing and their babies did better once they stopped. Some of the women are strongly opposed to babies being left in daycare at all; others are proponents of it. Some resented their babies; some adored them from the start. There are zucchini eaters and white-flour eaters. Chana is at her best when she writes about her own mothering, her own household. She describes with great clarity what she believes would be ideal; she pats herself on the back for the times she achieves it; she admits that often she doesn't succeed. Her main goal, more than a neat house, is a happy home." 
    Rishe Deitsch, N'Shei Chabad Newsletter 

    Praise for Expecting Miracles:
    "I have many books on the topic of birth, but none like this. The lovely Expecting Miracles... with its focus on the spiritual aspects of pregnancy and birth, is unique... and I have already given it to some of my friends."
    - Rishe Deitsch, N'shei Chabad Newsletter

    "Chana Weisberg is known as the Jewish Pregnancy Lady to the 300,000 annual visitors to her website Her book offers wisdom from conversations with observant Jewish women for transforming pregnancy into an opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. This unusual book will serve as a valuable resource for all pregnant women, their husbands, doctors and members of their families."
    - Dov Peretz Elkins, co-Author of Chicken Soup for the Jewish Soul

    "A fascinating journey into previously unexplored terrain. Chana Weisberg's beautifully written book explores the little known world of Orthodox Jewish women in various stages of pregnancy: their hopes, their dreams, their fears, their beliefs, as they integrate the marvels, the mysteries, the magic, and ultimately, the miracle of childbirth and mothering...."
    -Yitta Halberstam, best-selling author of Small Miracles

    "I bought the book... and loved it! I "devoured it" over Shabbos. It filled the great thirst I had to gain an understanding of the deeper meaning of this unique experience.... This book fills a very big need in our Jewish religious community, and it is definitely sitting in my office waiting room"
    - Dr. Hava-Yael Schreiber, OB/GYN The Jewish Press

    "A new collection of interviews by Chana Weisberg, Expecting Miracles: Finding Meaning and Spirituality in Pregnancy Through Judaism, comes to illustrate how pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood are all, indeed, opportunities for spirituality and personal growth through the eyes of Judaism."
    - Jonathan Udren, JTA

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