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Jewish Community Center

Nishmah – Programs for Women

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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

Words to Action with Nishmah: Empowering Women to Address Anti-Semitism

Camp Ramah_5Sunday, June 10, 9:30am-12:30pm
Regional Arts Commission
6128 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis 63112

A special learning opportunity based on ADL’s interactive education designed to equip students and community with constructive and effective responses to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias. Words to Action (originally known as Confronting Anti-Semitism) was created in the 1980s in response to a comprehensive ADL survey of Jewish youth in New England. They were regularly experiencing anti-Semitic comments, taunts, harassment and graffiti in the halls and classrooms of schools and communities. Rather than stand up to prejudice, many remained silent. Today, as anti-Semitism continues, many face another form, that which is fueled by anti-Israel sentiment.  Join together with Nishmah and ADL to experience and learn.

This program is free of charge and open to girls and women high-school age and older. Space is limited and registration is required. Light refreshments provided.

ADL logoContact: Shira Kraft, Director of Nishmah, 314.442.3111

Register Online

Ilene Joseph Salon Series

Save the Date for our Summer Salon!

Tuesday, August 28, 7pm

Suggested $10 fee

Contact: Shira Kraft, Director of Nishmah, skraft@jccstl.org, 314-442-3111

Register Online

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. 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.

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

Nerot: Young Women of Nishmah

Understand Cancer Risk: Genetics and More with Pre-event Dinner
Tuesday, April 24
Nerot Dinner, 6-7pm
Main Program, 7-9pm
Staenberg Family Complex, Arts & Education Building, Creve Coeur

Women in their 20s and 30s are invited for a FREE, pre-event dinner before Sharsheret’s educational program. This informal conversation with Kathy Bearman, LCSW, addresses issues relevant to young women, such as assessing one’s cancer risk and supporting friends and family through cancer treatment. Kosher, dairy dinner served. RSVP by April 17 to Simone Picker, 314.442.3166.
Generously funded by the Kranzberg Family Foundation.

Click here for more information on Understand Cancer Risk: Genetics and More

Nerot offers specialized enhancements to existing Nishmah programming geared specifically to women in their 20s and 30s. If you are interested in getting involved, let us know! Check out the Nishmah Facebook page for upcoming events. For more information or to sign up for emails, contact Simone Picker, 314.442.3166.

Nerot Chair, Amy Pakett

Women's Shabbat Retreat

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 TheJewishWoman.org. 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.

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.

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.