American and German women in academia must often choose between pursuing a career and caring for their families while Israeli women combine family life with scientific careers. This study explores reasons for the perceived difference through interviews with 125 Israeli scientists who collaborate with German colleagues. It exposes perceptions of contrasting norms with respect to scientific careers, marriage, cohabitation, and motherhood. The results suggest that in weighing alternatives, respondents employ unique modalities of reasoning. They suggest that German academics engage in rational, calculative and practical calculations viewed as masculine in contrast to Israeli academics who mix rational and practical criteria with irrational elements—namely, sentiments and passions. This is why, in contrast with their German colleagues, they see little problem in juggling academic careers while being married and raising children.