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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

Ilene Joseph Salon Series
Nishmah’s Salons are intimate, open, facilitated discussions on topics of interest to us as Jewish women. Preselected pieces of media, such as articles or videos, incite and frame the conversation. The theme for this year’s series, Women Lifting up Women, explores what it means to harness collective, female energy and propel each other forward. The Salon Series is named in memory of Ilene Joseph (z”l), one of Nishmah’s founders and a passionate supporter of the series.

January Salon Series: Forgiveness?
What place does forgiveness have when bad things happen?
Tuesday, January 29, 12-1:30pm (The J, Staenberg Family Complex), Facilitated by Michelle Rubin, MEd, LPC
Wednesday, January 30, 7:30-9pm (Private Home), Facilitated by Carly Sparks, MSW, LCWS

March Salon Series: Creating a Braver New World
Addressing kids’ struggles today and our hopes for the future.
Monday, March 11, 7:30-9pm (Private Home), Facilitated by Carly Sparks, MSW, LCWS
Tuesday, March 12, 12-1:30pm (The J, Staenberg Family Complex), Facilitated by Michelle Rubin, MEd, LPC

Register Online

Finding Ourselves in Torah

With Rabbi Jessica Shafrin
Together we delve deep into the words of Torah, gleaning insights to influence our lives. Starting at Bereshit, from the very beginning, we listen to the voices of female Torah scholars and our own, joining classic wisdom with modern life. Women of all ages and denominations are welcome to this open space for communal learning.

Register Online

Continues on the 3rd Tuesday of each month
Remains class dates: February 19, March 19, April 16, May 21
The J, Staenberg Family Complex
$36 for the series

Contact: Shira Kraft, 314-442-3111

Passover Journey

The Journey 2019
B’chol Dor V’dor

Celebrating women’s resilience throughout the generations and all over the world

Wednesday, April 3, 6pm
The J’s Staenberg Family Complex
Honoring Dr. Lynne Kipnis

Register Online

Nishmah’s pre-Passover women’s event returns! Musical guest Elana Jagoda guides us through a multi-sensory experience. Join women of all ages as we acknowledge our strengths and triumphs through stories, music, dance and food.

For full program info and to register, click here.

Festive Attire
Vegetarian Dinner (Dietary Laws Observed)

$54 per guest; $40 per guest if paid by February 28
$25 per student (2nd grade and up)
Scholarship funds available

For more information, contact Shira Kraft, 314-442-3111.

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! Check out the Nishmah at for upcoming events or contact Shira for more information.

Contact: Shira Kraft, 314.442.3111

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

Lynnie's Light for Life

The family of Lynnie Isaacs Palan z”l, Nishmah and the J invite you to commemorate the life of an inspiring woman and celebrate the day Lynnie loved most…her birthday. Join us in a spectacular display of love and hope in honor of Lynnie and our commitment to those in need. We will be lighting up the field with hundreds of wish lanterns in a fundraising effort to support our community facing cancer.

Lynne was a pioneer and leader of both Nishmah: The St. Louis Jewish Women’s Project and Sharsheret Supports St. Louis, a collaborative project of Nishmah and the national, not-for-profit Sharsheret organization. Proceeds from Lynnie’s Light for Life will ensure Sharsheret Supports is there for women and families in all stages of a breast or ovarian cancer journey—from understanding one’s hereditary risk to grappling with a diagnosis to undergoing treatment and managing life post-treatment. With your help, Sharsheret Supports saves and changes lives.

Donations of any amount are accepted. To participate in the lighting ceremony, wish lanterns are available for purchase with a tax-deductible donation of $100 per lantern. Lanterns will be distributed and personally dedicated in honor of loved ones or personal wishes the night of the event. Those unable to attend are invited to purchase wish lanterns to be included in the community display.

For questions or to learn more, contact Shira Kraft at 314-442-3111.

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, featured The Jewish Latin Princess, Yael Trusch, and celebrated the lives of Jewish women all over the world. The weekend began Friday evening with welcome cocktails followed by a musical Kabbalat Shabbat, Latin-inspired dinner, and entertaining programs.