Raisa Berovna Abramova (nee Rifkina) was born in Odessa, Ukraine. She is Sam's mother. She is less strict than her husband, Lev, but she can be quite demanding at times, although she is much more understanding of Sam than Lev usually is.
Growing up, she was the youngest of her parents' 5 children and as such, was babied through her formative years. She is a sensitive person who always thinks of the worst possible outcome. As such, she can be quite the worrywart.
After having a whirlwind romance and marrying Lev, she and Lev decided to immigrate to America due to the pogroms rocking Ukraine in the 1890s.
Raisa and Lev settle on the Lower East Side and become newspaper editors and writers for a number of Yiddish newspapers.
In the USA, she is also known as "Raisa Abramov" to avoid confusion, since "Abramova" is the feminine version of "Abramov" and there are no gendered last names in English.
Her son. She loves him but is also very strict towards him, though not as strict as Lev. She wants Sam to be happy, although she thinks he needs to follow a set of rules in order to stay "on the right path."
Her husband. They were deeply in love when they were young, but as they got older, they started drifting apart due to a number of factors (stress, over-work, boredom, etc.) However, they do love talking about Sam and what they can do to make sure he is "on the right path." Sam is their favorite topic of discussion (for better or for worse), other than work!
● Raisa started out as a pretty idealistic and romantically-minded woman, but now, she is pragmatic, pessimistic, and overly-paranoid about certain things, due to her shrinking social circle as she gets older. Outside of her husband and son, she has few friends, since she's always working and has no time to socialize anymore.
● She used to love Lev for his convictions and opinions, but now, she finds them a bit tiring. She thinks he's too hard-headed, too stubborn, and unwilling to see the larger picture at times.
● Raisa hopes Sam will find a way to do what he loves while still being able to live independently. Although she does a lot of things for Sam and kind of spoils him at times, she ultimately wants him to stand up on his own two feet.
● Raisa has always been concerned about the types of friends Sam keeps. She is always worried about him being "led down the wrong path." As a child, she disliked it when Sam had friends who swore, got into trouble at school, were rude, etc.