Sep 2009

Baby on Board

Hindy Poupko is a Davidson Scholar completing her double masters in Public Policy and Israel Studies at New York University. She is the Executive Director of the Council of Young Jewish Presidents and the Director of Israel and International Affairs at the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.  Hindy can be reached at

Shortly after getting married, when my aspirations for working within the Jewish world crystallized, I began anticipating what for me, one could say, would be the ultimate leadership moment: leading my “Baby on Board” vs. leading my Board.

Now that my husband and I are, with gratitude to God, actually anticipating our very own little “leadership moment” I am realizing that my exuberant conceptions of being the Upper West Side Super (Jewish) mom – with professional life, gym time and Shabbat mega meals all easily falling into place, is perhaps a huge, misplaced over reach.  Instead of this idealized state, I am more easily imagining various fits of anxiety, guilt and unabashed confusion. In real time, how will I be able to keep up my performance at work and not have to essentially export child rearing to a babysitter?

I am disheartened by the Jewish non-profit world’s inability to effectively address the needs of both post-partum mothers and active mothers.  But what I am quickly realizing (call this a coping mechanism) is that being proud of the person I am both at work and at home is probably a life long process. I am also discovering that while this may be the source of anxiety right now, I definitely see these as both meaningful and blessed challenges.  The immense satisfaction I get from my job cannot be replicated in the home and I am hopeful that the reverse will be true as well.   I love my job and hope I have the skills to help create a loving Jewish home – and while the Shabbat meal courses might in fact have to sacrifice some quantity, I pray that, as in my work both in and outside our home, they will not be sacrificed in quality.