Miriam Malnik-Ezagui opens up to PEOPLE about her life as an Orthodox mom to four daughters and why she shares her day-to-day on social media
A Brooklyn-based mom never expected that sharing her life as an Orthodox Jewish mother would bring in millions of viewers interested in her and her family's day-to-day.
Miriam Malnik-Ezagui makes viewers feel welcome in every video, beginning each clip by saying, "Hi my name is Miriam. I’m an Orthodox Jew, and I share what my life is like."
The mom of four tells PEOPLE she "never expected" her account to take off like it did, adding that she's "so grateful that the community around me is so wonderful and supportive."
Malnik-Ezagui says she was first inspired to post identifying as a Jewish person after Whoopi Goldberg's January 2022 remarks that the Holocaust was not "about race." Goldberg later apologized, sharing in a statement to PEOPLE, "I'm still learning a lot and believe me, I heard everything everyone said to me. I believe that the Holocaust was about race, and I am still as sorry now as I was then that I upset, hurt and angered people," she said. "In this time of rising antisemitism, I want to be very clear when I say that I always stood with the Jewish people and always will."
"My sincere apologies again, especially to everyone who thought this was a fresh rehash of the subject. I promise it was not. In this time of rising antisemitism, I want to be very clear when I say that I always stood with the Jewish people and always will," added Goldberg. "My support for them has not wavered and never will."
"My paternal grandparents are both Holocaust survivors and it's very much part of my identity," Malnik-Ezagui tells PEOPLE. "I had a really long think about whether I wanted to because I was scared of hatred that I might experience on the internet."
"But what pushed me was that somebody on her level of a platform didn't understand some of these things. I don't think she was coming from a place of hatred. I think she was just coming from a place of lack of knowledge and there are probably so many other people out there that just don't know, not because they're antisemitic but because they're just not educated. That was what stemmed me to make my very first post and it was well-received and it encouraged me to share more."
Malnik-Ezagui, who works as a labor and delivery nurse, wasn't initially raised Orthodox until her family started to become more religious when she was 9. "So my childhood wasn't, but preteen and teen years, I was already Orthodox," she explains.
Now having four kids of her own, daughters Naomi, 10, Zahava, 7, Aviva, 4, and Dassy, 20 months, Malnik-Ezagui wants to raise her girls to feel their own connection to religion and encourages open conversations about the topic, something the Brooklyn mom speaks about often on social media.
"I think there's a lot of people that have religious trauma because in general, I'm not just talking about Judaism or targeting any religion, but people are taught that there's just one way of doing things, and if not, it's not held favorably in the religious eyes," Malnik-Ezagui explains.
"So one of the things that we encourage our children is to ask questions and develop their own connection and understanding to the religion."
"Even though my kids are growing up this way, I hope that I open up an open conversation for them so that they can develop their own connection to these things and that they're doing it because they feel a connection, not just because, 'Oh, well I have to do this.' And if not, then that's okay too because we all have different relationships with religion and God," she adds.
The mom of four says she often gets asked about her feelings should her daughters decide to not be observant when they grow up.
"I always say, 'I will love and accept my children regardless.' I feel like there's this notion or understanding that if you don't follow these rules, you're not going to be accepted in our home," she says. "And that's not the case with my family. My family that I grew up in, we're all different levels of observance and it's everyone's unique relationship."
Malnik-Ezagui says she also hopes her channel will help to show other moms outside of her religion that they have "a lot of similarities."
"I think that's one of the things that my channel brings is that they can see that aspect of, 'I'm a working mom, I'm still home making dinner and doing all the regular family things that moms do.'"
"One of the things that I am trying to do is share my life so people can see the differences, but also how we're the same because there are a lot of similarities," she continues. "I think some people feel like a connection is seeing that we're just not from some storybook."
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