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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 Shira Kraft, Director of Nishmah, 314.442.3111.

Support Nishmah

Women's Shabbat Retreat

Nishmah Home Page photo

Viva La Vida…To the Fullest!
Women’s Shabbat Retreat

Friday-Saturday, February 9-10, 2018
Cedar Creek Center (New Haven, MO)
Retreat Recipes

Our biennial Shabbat Retreat brings together women of many generations, phases of life and affiliations. This year’s Retreat, co-chaired by Maria Cohen and Marcia Lisker, features The Jewish Latin Princess, Yael Trusch, and celebrates the lives of Jewish women all over the world. The weekend begins Friday evening with welcome cocktails followed by a musical Kabbalat Shabbat, Latin inspired dinner, and entertaining programs. Shabbat Day includes a variety of prayer options and unique workshops inspiring both introspection and community connection. The program will conclude with Havdalah service on Saturday evening and an optional Saturday night stay.


YaelSpecial Guest: Yael Trusch
Yael is the creator of the bilingual Jewish blog and popular weekly podcast for women, Jewish Latin Princess. She is an influencer, communicator and promoter of a joyful, richer Jewish life,  inspiring women around the globe with her positivity and colorful persona.

Yael developed a healthy obsession with Judaism while in college, which led her to adopt an increasingly observant lifestyle. Her message to Jewish women is always honest, approachable, relatable and profound yet practical.

As a wife and mother of four children, Yael is dedicated to building a Jewish home, which provides real-life content for her blog, podcast and new courses for women. She also authors a monthly column in The Jewish Herald Voice called “Defining Jewish Women,” and contributes regularly to Yael has a BA in Economics and International Relations from Tufts University and an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Yael has since globe-trotted from New York to Argentina to Chile to China to Israel and back.

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.

Register Online

Winter Salon: Embracing Our Inner Impostors

Join Nishmah in an intimate setting for a conversation on the concept of Impostor Syndrome. Whether in our professional or personal lives, we often feel inadequate despite evident successes. We will explore this phenomenon and how it can actually help build a stronger community. Choose a location and date that works best for you. Article will be provided to registrants prior to the salon meeting.

January 16, 7:30-9pm
Private Home in Clayton, facilitated by Debbie Polinsky
addresses provided to registrants, refreshments provided

January 17, 12-1pm
The J’s Staenberg Family Complex, Arts & Education Building, facilitated by Shira Kraft
(will begin promptly at noon), bring your own lunch, snacks provided

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.

St. Louis Mikvah Project

Inquire About Experiencing the Mikvah

Nishmah is looking to provide a Jewish framework for life transitions by facilitating deep meaningful experiences at the mikvah (Jewish 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, 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 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. People immerse to celebrate moments of joy, to heal after times of sorrow or illness, or to commemorate transitions and changes.  It is in that spirit that we look 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, divorce, pregnancy loss, fertility struggles, and mourning.

Our goal is to train mikvah guides who together with the current mikvah attendants, will welcome women in our community, who have never had the opportunity to utilize the mikvah and they will work 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.  Each person would be connected to this ancient Jewish tradition and followed by an additional opportunity to connect with the mikvah in a more traditional way in space and time.

Our goal is to partner our trained mikvah guides with the current mikvah attendants to welcome women in our community who have never had the opportunity to utilize the mikvah.  Together they will work to facilitate a supportive, safe and meaningful immersion experience. In addition, we provide suggested readings, blessings, and a framework for a personal experience.  Every woman has the opportunity to connect spiritually to this ancient Jewish tradition, as well as the opportunity to utilize the mikvah in the more traditional way if she wishes.

Details coming soon!

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 Simone Picker, 314-442-3166

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

Shushan Nights! Purim Journey

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.