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Jewish Community Center

Nishmah

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Inspiring Jewish Women

nishmah-logoNishmah, a program of the St. Louis Jewish Community Center, inspires, engages, and supports Jewish women. Through inspirational programming, Nishmah brings together Jewish women and girls from different denominations who may have otherwise never met. Together, these women learn from each other, connect and form bonds through faith and friendship.

Nishmah programming looks at the current issues that matter most to women today through a Jewish lens.

Nishmah Programs

Sharsheret Supports STL

Sharsheret Supports STL is a program of the J’s Nishmah and a community partner of the national, not-for-profit Sharsheret organization. Sharsheret – Hebrew for “chain or link” – symbolizes the connections made among women and their families facing a breast or ovarian cancer diagnosis. Sharsheret also educates women and men in the community regarding increased hereditary cancer risks, especially those of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry due to their increased propensity to carry a hereditary cancer gene mutation including, but not limited to, BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations. All support and educational programs available locally, and through the national Sharsheret organization, are FREE, confidential and individualized. All Sharsheret programs are available to members and the public.

Sharsheret Supports STL Programs

Yoga for Cancer & Oncology Massage

The J is proud to offer two services dedicated to helping people cope with the symptoms and side effects of a cancer experience: Yoga for Cancer and Oncology Massage. These services are available for anyone who has received a cancer diagnosis of any type and has spoken with their medical treatment team prior to participating.

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Finding Ourselves in Torah

A pluralistic, intergenerational women’s Torah study program. Together we delve deep into the words of Torah, gleaning insights to influence our lives. We listen to the voices of female Torah scholars and our own, joining classic wisdom with modern life. All who identify as women are welcome to this open space for communal learning.

Cost is $36 for the series.

Nishmah Facebook Group

Nishmah’s Facebook group is an online extension of Nishmah’s mission to foster connections among Jewish women in St. Louis. We encourage members to share articles, upcoming events, book recommendations, etc…as well as start conversations and ask questions. Our hope is that members will play an active role in inspiring group conversation, learning, and engagement.

Especially during this time of social distancing when we are not having in-person programming, being part of this group ensures that you’ll be up to date with Nishmah’s online offerings.

Nerot: Young Women of Nishmah

Women in their 20s & 30s

We are excited to build a cohort of young women among the Nishmah community. Nerot offers specialized enhancements to existing Nishmah programming and mentorship and learning opportunities geared specifically to women in their 20s and 30s. If you are interested in getting involved, let us know!

Immerse: St. Louis Mikvah Project

Immerse: St. Louis Mikvah Project

Nishmah’s trained, volunteer mikvah guides facilitate welcoming, transformative and compassionate immersions for Jewish women seeking mikvah experiences of all forms. At Nishmah, we understand that moments of celebration, growth, transition and grief need a Jewish expression. We look to honor profound changes and acknowledge new stages of life by helping you connect spiritually to the ancient Jewish tradition of the ritual bath.

What is Mikvah?

Ritual immersion is an ancient part of Jewish tradition, noted in the Torah and in later Rabbinic sources. Even today, immersion in a mikvah is an act required by Jewish law for converts to Judaism, brides, and women observing “niddah”, the practice of immersing monthly following menstruation.

Mikvah has also been used for other non-requisite, spiritual purposes throughout Jewish history. For example, by men prior to Shabbat and the holidays or 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. Immersions can mark life transitions such as weddings, births, healing from illness or trauma, significant birthdays, divorce, pregnancy loss, fertility struggles, and mourning.

What do we do?

Nishmah’s mikvah guides, in collaboration with the Sylvia Green Memorial Mikvah, welcome women in our community seeking meaningful immersions. An assigned guide will work with you to facilitate a supportive, safe immersion experience from start to finish. In addition, we provide suggested readings, blessings and a framework for one’s personal experience. Our goal is to connect you to this ancient Jewish tradition in a manner that feels relevant and significant to your life in the present.

Inquire About Experiencing the Mikvah

Support Nishmah

Nishmah relies on the generous gifts of our donors and program participants to support its robust and inspirational programming. Nishmah offers scholarships to women and girls to attend programs such as the annual Women’s Retreat, the Passover Journey event and more. Your support allows us to open the door to our full community.

Support Nishmah

For more information on Nishmah, please contact:
Vickie Shuchart, Director of Nishmah, 314.442.3111
Debbi Braunstein, Sharsheret Supports STL Program Supervisor, 314.442.3266