When I meet someone in the Jewish community and we start to play “Jewish Geography,” I simply say I am May-Ronny Zeidman’s son. Everyone in the community knows her through her volunteering at the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island, her work for Israeli bonds and the Jewish Alliance of Greater R.I., and, most recently, her role as director of the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center.
But who is May-Ronny Zeidman?
When we were children, and life was much different, when we went somewhere by car, my two brothers and I would want to sit in the front seat. May-Ronny would tell us to pick a number from one to 10, and then she would tell us who won. Years later, she let us know that it had never occurred to her to fudge the result.
May-Ronny did not keep much cold cereal in the house; she made a complete hot breakfast every day. There were pancakes one day, French toast the next, maybe eggs and toast, hot cereal (even she must have gotten tired of making breakfast), corn muffins or corn bread, depending on her mood.
She didn’t go to work outside the home until I was 15. Every beach day in the summer we went to either Sand Hill Cove, Camp Westwood, Lake Mishnock or, if there were too many chores to be done, the little lake down the street. Regardless of where we went, it was always an adventure.
Jewish holidays were, and still are, May-Ronny’s favorite times of the year – Passover especially. From the time I was about 9 until I was 48, she made both seders, cooking and freezing for weeks leading up to the holiday. Most years the guest list topped 35 people, but she always made it look easy. I still remember the dozens of eggs stacked up in the den.
About 15 years ago, May-Ronny made me a stunning tallit bag. Everyone who looks at it is taken by the beauty and handiwork. Since then, she has made one for each of her grandchildren, and she made one for my husband when he converted. Each one is as beautiful, or more beautiful, than the one she made me.
She does needlework constantly, and some of my proudest possessions are the Shabbat and holiday embroidered tablecloths she made several years back, or maybe it’s one of the three afghans she made, or maybe the embroidered pillow.
My father always said that the only thing you really have in life is your name, and May-Ronny Zeidman has certainly made one to be proud of, for her, her children, her friends and all of her family.
Who is May-Ronny Zeidman? She is my mother, and a truly great mother to my brothers, Mason and Garrett Sock, and to me. And she is a wonderful grandmother to Samantha Morrell, Kevin Sock, Rebecca Sock, Reese Sock, Jake Sock and Cooper Sock.
Editor’s Note: After several months of May-Ronny Zeidman’s column, Jeff Sock asked to guest write her column once to explain a little about her.