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Jewish Community Center

The Hamsa Wellness Community

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The Hamsa Wellness Community (formerly known as Sharsharet Supports STL) is a cancer community program at the J and a community partner of the national nonprofit Sharsheret organization. The Hamsa Wellness Community educates individuals regarding hereditary cancer risks, especially women and men of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, who have an increased risk of carrying a hereditary cancer gene mutation. The Hamsa Wellness Community also supports those facing a cancer diagnosis – especially those with breast and ovarian cancer – anywhere along their journey.

In partnership with the J’s Fitness team, the Hamsa Wellness Community offers programs like Yoga for Cancer, Strength Over Cancer, and Oncology Massage led by oncology-trained instructors and therapists. The Hamsa Wellness Community welcomes the full spectrum of diversity and supports all who reach out. These programs are available to J members and the public.

The Hamsa Wellness Community is founded on five pillars: Connection, Hope, Education, Strength, and Support. These pillars focus on the care of the whole person and provide those dealing with cancer diagnosis a community during what is often an extremely challenging time.


Debbi Braunstein, Hamsa Wellness Community Director

Programs & Events

April 4: Genetics and Hereditary Cancer: Let's Learn Together

Genetics and Hereditary Cancer Learn Together

Learn from a genetic counselor and oncologist about hereditary cancers, genetic counseling, and how this impacts risk and treatment decisions, as well as medical management.

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Breast & Ovarian Cancer Monthly Support Group

Breast & Ovarian Cancer Monthly Support Group

This monthly group at the J provides support, connection and education to women in the St. Louis community who have been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer and are anywhere along their treatment path – before, during, or post treatment. The group periodically welcomes guests offering meaningful and relevant experiential activities. Facilitated by Kathy Bearman, Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Newcomers (members and public) are always welcome along with female family and friends. A light kosher dinner is served.

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Yoga for Cancer

Yoga for Cancer

Yoga for Cancer is a research-based specialized yoga methodology addressing the specific physical and emotional needs left by cancer and its treatments. This method is gentle and restorative and focuses on movement and breath and the special needs of current cancer patients and survivors. Trained teachers adapt this valuable methodology to all cancer types and stages.

Thursdays at 4-5:15pm taught by Stacia Hanna (Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur)
This in-person class builds community and creates a safe space while being together with other class participants. In addition to focusing on movement and breath, provides hands-on instructional opportunities to modify the gentle and restorative poses to accommodate individual needs.

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Oncology Massage

Oncology Massage

Oncology massage is a specialized, non-invasive therapy that helps one manage the symptoms of cancer and side effects of treatment. It uses a light touch along with slow, steady movements, and is intended to help the body relax. A safe massage plan generally revolves around the side effects (both short – and long-term) of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

60-minute oncology massages provided by licensed massage therapist properly trained in oncology.


$70 per 60 minutes

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Strength Over Cancer

Strength Over Cancer

Strength Over Cancer is a specialized fitness course for both cancer patients and those who have completed their treatment. As certified cancer exercise specialists, our instructors, who provide hands-on guidance needed by cancer patients and those who have completed treatment, are specifically trained to meet your unique needs in the short-term and long-term, through recovery and into survivorship. Even if you were not active before your cancer diagnosis, you will receive the help you need to build your strength and mobility safely and successfully. The course will begin in February and last through April.


  • Reduced treatment-related fatigue and improved sleep
  • Improved overall physical ability
  • Reduced muscle loss
  • Build strength
  • Improved balance and mobility
  • Reduced anxiety and depression
  • Improved sense of well-being
  • Associated with better survival rates

This 11-week course will be FREE and open to both J members and the public, courtesy of The Hamsa Wellness Community and its partners. The next 11-week course will begin on August 13. Classes are small (10 participants per 11 week course), and held in person at he J’s Staenberg Family Complex. To get more information or to sign up, email our Director of the Hamsa Wellness Community, Debbi Braunstein, at Participants must have a doctor’s note in order to participate.

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Sharsheret National Resources

Sharsharet National Resources

As a community partner of the national Sharsheret organization, we connect individuals to Sharsheret national so they can participate in a variety of free, individualized and confidential resources that include but are not limited to the following:

  • Sharsharet has a clinical team of trained, skilled mental health professionals and genetic counselors to speak with privately at any point in your cancer journey.
  • A peer support network connecting women newly diagnosed or at high risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer one-on-one with others who share similar diagnoses and experiences
  • Program for parents facing breast cancer or ovarian cancer while raising children or teens
  • Services and subsidies for eligible individuals for non-medical services that are critical to a woman’s quality of life and body image, and that are only partly covered by insurance companies, if at all
  • Information and tailored resources for caregivers’ family members, and friends to help support their loved ones facing cancer
  • Individualized support and survivorship kits for breast and ovarian cancer survivors
  • Specialized support for individuals with advanced breast cancer and recurrent ovarian cancer

For a complete list of programs available through Sharsheret national, visit their website.

Visit the Sharsheret Website


Lynnie's Light

Lynnie’s Light for Life

September 4, 2024 7:00pm-8:30pm
Staenberg Family Complex

Please join us for our annual gathering as we shine light on the work of The Hamsa Wellness Community and Nishmah, the St. Louis Jewish Women’s Project.

This is a free event and all are welcome to attend. 

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Beyond Pink

Beyond Pink: A Morning of Exercise, Education & Wellness

October 27, 2024 10am-1pm
Staenberg Family Complex/Creve Coeur

This free special day of exercise, wellness, and education is a great way to become aware of the different types of hereditary cancers and commit to being the healthiest version of you, whether you have a cancer diagnosis or not!

Partners in the community will also be on-site to share information on cancer and hereditary risks, non-medical financial assistance, clean skincare and more. Enjoy a complimentary chair massage, too.

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