Return to homepage

Bookmark This Site
Search our site
WOLFE'S WORDSMarch 18, 2009
Send this page to a friendIncrease Font
Page DownBottom

Share this page
"Fertsn" (14) Children...What Next?*
by: Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Important dates

This Month...

Editor's Comment
Michael looks at:
Farewell, Shalom and Adieu

Being Jewish Magazine

see a .pdf copy of the current issue

An Open Letter from Abba to His Family

Enough With The Political Finger-Pointing!

Revisiting the Haggadah

Eddy's Recipe List
Victoria Sponge

Book Review
Unstrung Heroes

The Outspeaker
Encouraging violence is never correct

Good times and bad times with Batya

Nathan Weissler
What my friendship with Michael Hanna-Fein meant to me

BC's Backlot
The Last Shalom

This And That
My Treasure Chest

Three Symbols of Passover


Lynn Ruth Miller
How we all became part of a bigger story

Mel Yahre
A few words for my friend

Eddy's Thoughts
Don't let life flutter by

The Bear Facts
How I found Michael


*A "Vebzaytl," A TV Show, A Book Deal?

The headlines read:

"Octuplet's Mom: I Was 'Fixated' On Having Children"
"Octuplet Doctor Probed For Violations"
"Calif. Octuplets Now Longest-Living Set in U. S."

Jews have always heard the expression,
"Be fruitful and multiply."
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach ("Kosher Sex") writes that there are four things in America for which there is little forgiveness. The fourth is having too many children.
"Looking down at primitives with 'too many' children is one of the least acceptable prejudices in the West. (Boteach has 9 children.)

Several years ago I had the pleasure of hearing Rabbi Boteach speak at the Jericho Jewish Center on Long Island. At that time, I believe, he had six children. He told the audience about how he used public transportation with his large family. People would look at them and say--almost with disgust--
"Are they ALL yours?" Few people said,
"Oh, what a lovely family you have."

In 2008, when the rabbi's 9th child was expected imminently, he found himself pitied, and pilloried, wherever he went. When people said,
"Wow, that's a lot of kids," he said it's a shame that he didn't reply,
"Eight antique cars, or better eight homes around the world, for which I would have been thought a success. But eight kids? That proves you're either a religious kook, or someone ruining the environment by overpopulating the earth."

Kate Zernike ("And Baby Makes How Many?" (New York Times, 2/8/09) quotes Kim Ginnup, who has 12 children. When asked at a Sears store,
"Are they all yours?" she replied,
"No. I picked some up at the food court."

And now we have the story of 33-year-old Nadya Suleman, who has given birth to octuplets with the help of in vitro fertilizations. These children, PLUS the six other children she already has, were conceived at the West Coast IVF Clinic in Beverly Hills, CA. (Her other children range in age between 2 and 7; two or three are reportedly disabled.) Oh, Ms. Suleman is single, lives with her mother, and has no visible means of support. She is receiving $490 a month for food stamps and is open to accepting gifts for the children via her "vebzaytl" (website).

Suleman told NBC that she planned to go back to Cal. State, Fullerton, for a degree in counseling. Once she receives the degree, she says she will get a job, and be able to financially support the children.

Kaiser gathered 46 doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals together to perform the delivery. If the octuplets stay in the hospital for seven weeks, the cost would be about $470,000. If they stay 12 weeks, the cost would be about $805,000.

Are there not some ethical questions that have to be asked? Why would Dr. Michael Kamrava have implanted that many eggs?

Being a mother is so much more than just giving birth; it also involves providing for the children emotionally, and financially. Perhaps Ms. Suleman needs a dose of reality...or "seykhl"-sense/judgment.

Barbara Bush ("Reflections - Life After the White House") describes a trip she made to an orphanage in Bucharest, Romania:
"Under the Ceausescu, the government encouraged families to produce many children in order to create a pool of labor for the state. Many of them were sent to orphanages, with the understanding that the parents would retrieve them at some later date. As most of the parents were unable to feed what children they already had, these children, supposedly on loan and therefore not able to be adopted by anyone, languished in orphanages till they reached the age when they could be useful to the state. At that point they became the slaves of the government, undertaking such efforts as the Ceausescu felt necessary...

The children I was taken to visit were the youngest, those not yet walking. Some of them were tiny infants in cribs, perhaps a dozen or so, lined up in a long, dimly lit corridor. A woman, whom I judged to be a nurse (although she fell far short of our image of the kindly, clean, and caring nurses of our experience,) wearing a dingy, spotted apron and a martyred, sour, sour, bordering-on-anger, expression on her face, trudged from crib to crib, bending over just far enough to place the nipple of the bottle in each tiny mouth. Not for one second during the entire process did a human hand make a contact with a baby. When I asked why the babies weren't held by a nurse while being fed, the doctor who accompanied me said that this was an unskilled nurse who knew no better. But I noticed he made no comment to the nurse. I also subsequently learned that the neglect was intentional, because the thinking was that once you picked up the baby, he might want to be picked up again, and that would be all together too time-consuming.

...I realized how unnaturally quiet it was in that corridor, despite the presence of so many babies. I also noticed how dull-eyed and listless the babies were. They looked like little shriveled old men...I was witnessing for the first time, first hand, the tragic results of the withholding of love."
Marjorie, who is the mother of three sons, agrees with Barbara Bush: "Like an un-watered plant, a baby denied love, and attention, shrivels in its absence, and could even die from lack of it, even if he is adequately fed. Nadya Suleman, and Dr. Kamrava, ARE YOU LISTENING?


Michael answers almost all of them.

Consult him about religious and spiritual issues

News article of interest to our community.


Tshatshkes, shmates and other shlok for the discriminating shopper.

Our (real world) publication

Interesting tidbits of jewishness


Have the Gantseh Megillah dropped directly into your e-mail box

Join the Gantseh Megillah Facebook Group

Follow Michael's Tweets

Environmentally friendly Megillah bag

Audio and video Yiddishkayt

Buy him a Megillah shirt

See everything we have to offer


See Marge's website    

A  print companion to our online magazine
Page UpTop Small Monitor Subscribe Tzedakeh Links

Subscribe (free) to the Gantseh Megillah. The Gantseh Megillah and are designed and hosted by HannaVisioN About this site Send a financial contribution to this site Contact us See our glossary of Yiddish words and expressions Log In Join
Personal insights from two yiddishe meydls Life stories from the heart News and information with a lighter touch Politics and policy with a Yiddishe taam