Yerusha: A Website for Older Childless Jews

In August, 2009, I sat in a movie theater and watched Julie & Julia. The actress playing Julia Child was reading aloud to her husband a letter from her sister. When she came to the part of the letter where her sister said she was pregnant, Julia began to cry, painfully. Her husband moved over to her. Julia, through her crying, said, "I'm so happy," and her husband answered, "I know."

Of course, both he and the audience knew that she was not crying from happiness for her sister, but from her own grief of not having children.

This was a woman who had served her country during World War II in an international spy ring managed by the Office of Strategic Services, and who later gave joy to millions through her cookbooks and television shows. But she didn't have children and that made her cry.

I was fifty-five years old and childless. I had not married until February of that year. I knew I would never give birth to a child, and would probably not adopt either. I sometimes cried because I didn't have children.

So, that night as I sat in the movie theater, I formed the idea of Yerusha, a worldwide organization for Jewish women like myself, and Jewish men, past normal child-bearing age, who believe they may never have children, either biologically or by adoption.

I envisioned Yerusha as a way to bring these Jews together, both online and in the real world, to explore the meaning and experience of being a childless Jewish adult.

And I wanted participants to help each other discover ways to create their inheritance ("yerusha") for future generations.

Thank you for exploring this website and becoming part of Yerusha.

Anna Olswanger

Click on the links on the left to discover more about Yerusha: its Steps, Halachic sources, Groups that you can participate in or help start, Role Models, and its Forum where you can post your messages.