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Jewish Community Center

Nishmah – Programs for Women


Through a number of diverse and inspirational programs, Nishmah brings together Jewish women from different denominations who otherwise may have never met. Together, these women learn from each other, connect and form bonds through faith and friendship. Nishmah creates the foundation for these Jewish connections that form outside the walls of a synagogue environment.

For more information about Nishmah’s programs for women, contact Nishmah Director, Sara Winkelman, 314-442-3268.

Ilene Joseph Salon Series

Living room-based discussions for women.

As our organization’s first programming chair, Ilene Joseph was a passionate supporter of the Salon Series and volunteered countless hours as a facilitator to groups of devoted women. To honor of her many years of service on the Board of Nishmah, we felt it a fitting tribute to name the Series in Ilene’s memory. Nishmah salons are facilitated discussions about stimulating articles intended to connect, engage and develop intelligent conversations on topics of interest to us as Jewish women.

$18 Suggested donation per salon ($5 suggested donation for young adults and students).

Register Online

Winter Salon: Write ON!

Write ON! empowers teenagers and adults to find their voice and express it through writing, inspiring change in their world. EVERYONE HAS A STORY: Write On! is a facilitated/guided discussion group facilitated by Pam Wilson. Writing is used to process an individual’s current situation allowing someone to move forward and/or make choices about their life story. With Pam’s background in social work and writing she guides the group. The value of meeting in a group and reading out loud gives insight to someone’s thoughts and feelings. Others hear what you are writing which holds you accountable and asks you to be honest. Write ON! empowers people to find their voice and express it through writing in a thoughtful and safe way.

Tuesday, January 24, 7:30pm, Private Home
Wednesday, January 25, 12-1:30pm, The J in Creve Coeur

Spring Salon: Poetry

Building on the positive response to the poetry session at last year’s women’s retreat, Aura Kavadlo is returning to lead us in a thoughtful discussion about poetry. The conversation is intended to connect, engage and develop intelligent discussions on topics of interest to us as Jewish women.

Wednesday, April 26, 12-1:30pm, Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School
Thursday, April 27, 7:30-9pm, Private Home

Start Your Own Salon

Overwhelmed by book groups but still looking to connect with other Jewish women on a regular basis? We can help you get started, by providing a facilitator or training you to facilitate. Find your friends and find a home, and we will help with the rest.

Nerot: Young Women of Nishmah

For women in their 20s and 30s

The Young Women’s group is a diverse network of Jewish women in their 20s and 30s who are interested in unique programs that provide social opportunities, education and spiritual enrichment and connection to Jewish identity. Check Facebook for monthly program updates, dates, times and locations.

Lisa Greening, Executive Director of Ready Readers
Lisa will share her thoughts on having a purpose in your profession and meaningful personal and professional growth. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions that are personally relevant.

Monday, April 3, 7pm
Private home (address given upon registration)
RSVP to Simone Picker, 314.442.3166

This is the third in a series of intimate conversations with influential St. Louis Jewish women. We aim to spark inspiration, community-building, and networking for those who are connected with the Jewish community and identify as women in their 20s and 30s. Participants will have the opportunity to connect with some of the most accomplished, interesting, and respected women in the broader Jewish community. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information, contact Program Coordinator Simone Picker, 314-442-3166

Nerot Leadership: Leah Frankel, Nava Kantor, Amy Pakett, & Mel Paticoff

Immerse: The St. Louis Mikvah Project

Based on the success of Mayim Hayim in Boston and ImmerseNYC, Nishmah, the St. Louis Jewish women’s project, is looking to provide a Jewish framework for life transitions by facilitating deep ritual experiences at the mikvah (Jewish ritual bath), convening supportive peer communities and organizing educational programs.  We model the Jewish world we want to live in: a diverse community where Jewish women support one another through life transitions with love and authenticity.

What is Mikvah?

Ritual immersion is an ancient part of Jewish tradition, noted in the Torah and in later Rabbinic commentaries. Today, there are only a few cases where immersion is still designated as a mitzvah, or an act required by Jewish law: for converts to Judaism, for brides and for women observing/niddah, the practice of immersing monthly following menstruation.

Mikvah has also been used for other purposes throughout Jewish history: for example, by men prior to Shabbat and the holidays, by women in the ninth month of pregnancy.  Ritual immersion in a mikvah – a gathering of living water (mayyim hayyim) – marks a change in status. People immerse to celebrate moments of joy, to heal after times of sorrow or illness, or to commemorate transitions and changes.

There has been a recent movement to reclaim the mikvah not only for traditional use as mentioned above but also to honor profound changes and to acknowledge and embrace new stages of life for individuals. Immersions can mark life transitions such as weddings, births, healing from illness or trauma, significant birthdays, b’nei mitzvah, divorce, pregnancy loss, fertility struggles, and mourning.

Our goal is to train mikvah guides who will welcome women in our community to the mikvah and facilitate a supportive, safe immersion experience from start to finish. In addition, we provide suggested readings blessings and a framework for your ritual.

Our goal is to train Mikvah Guides to facilitate the community mikvah immersion process, from first contact at the mikvah through preparation, immersion and post-immersion reflection. They offer Jews, or those becoming Jews, a personal and spiritual experience to recognize and honor life’s transitions. Mikvah guides would be an extraordinary group of volunteers of all ages with a range of backgrounds and experiences. What they hold in common is their commitment to providing a compassionate presence for your ritual. Guides would be trained and selected by Nishmah and given their time and expertise as an act of sacred service. When women would schedule an immersion, we would help match you with a guide who has particular knowledge of your needs and you can also request a specific guide if you would prefer.  Our volunteer Mikvah Guides would participant in “Guide My Steps,” a curriculum created by Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikvah. The sessions covered topics including the Jewish textual sources for mikvah immersion, traditional and alternative uses of mikvah, sensitivity training, creating a sacred space, and the logistics of facilitating immersions.

Click here for opportunities to beautify the mikvah. To give online, click here and note the item you are ‘purchasing’ in the comment section on the donation form. 

Moms Raising Girls

“Recognize When to Seek Help…with Your Daughter on Board”
For Moms with Girls in 3rd-6th grade

Join other moms for another great session of a new series designed specifically for you: moms with young girls aged 9 – 12. Keri Simon, MSW, LCSW will facilitate a meaningful session about addressing anxiety and knowing when it’s time to seek professional help. Keri will walk through some of the warning signs to look out for, share some insight into the various modalities of therapy that are available and appropriate for the developmental stage of your girls, and explain ways to keep your daughters involved in the process. Wine and light refreshments will be served.

Keri Simon, MSW, LSCW is a highly compassionate, engaging, skilled clinical social worker committed to providing excellent care and therapy for children, adolescents, adults and families. A career history of 15 years + working with diverse populations in schools and private settings with both groups and individuals. She displays an inherent ability to build rapport quickly with all of her clients and establishes professional therapeutic relationships dedicated towards solution based outcomes. Skilled at diffusing stressful situations, building trust, motivating clients, and teaching behavior intervention strategies while empowering clients to achieve their highest potential. Keri has years of experience working with resistant clients who have previously been unable to engage in therapy. Keri specializes in working with people experiencing anxiety, depression, relationship issues and trauma.

Events TBD

For more information or to rsvp, contact Simone Picker at 314-442-3166.

Register Online

Questions or to register, contact Simone Picker at 314-442-3166.

Nerot: Young Women of Nishmah

For women in their 20s and 30s

The Young Women’s group is a diverse network of Jewish women in their 20s and 30s who are interested in unique programs that provide social opportunities, education and spiritual enrichment and connection to Jewish identity. Check Facebook for monthly program updates, dates, times and locations.

For more information, contact Program Coordinator Simone Picker, 314-442-3166

Nerot Leadership: Leah Frankel, Nava Kantor, Amy Pakett, & Mel Paticoff

Women's Shabbat Retreat

This Biennial signature event is a unique Shabbat experience with women of many generations, phases of life, and affiliations.  Together we explore, discover, build and examine our connections – to ourselves, each other, community, and spirituality.  Through Shabbat, healthy and delicious food, community, laughter and love, surrounded by the beauty of Pere Marquette State Park, we grow within ourselves and with our friends, both old and new, again and again.

Last retreat was February 2016 – look for us again in February 2018!

Shushan Nights! Purim Journey

Shushan Nights Header

Purim is not just for kids! Join other women as we reclaim Purim as our holiday too. holiday. There will be fun, drinks, costumes, dinner at the bazaar and more! We will take this opportunity to delve deeper into the heroines of the Purim story. Women only – Bat Mitzvah age and up!

Experience the mitzvot of Purim | Belly Dancer | Raffle for Esther’s jewels | “Rap”-style Megilla | Gifts to the poor | Henna | Vashti shooters | More!



Dietary laws observed.

Shushan Nights was held March 5, 2017.

Register Online

Contact: Sara Winkelman, 314-442-3268