Every mom needs a breather, sometimes in the form of a hot cup of coffee and a supportive table of friends.
There are at least two local groups to help you get there, one at Congregation Shalom and the other a program of Milwaukee Jewish Federation called Shalom Baby. Congregation Shalom and Shalom Baby are not affiliated.
Congregation Shalom has a mom’s chavurah called “Moms—Let’s Talk.” Started in February of this year, moms meet once a month over coffee on Sundays, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
“It gives other moms an opportunity to talk about things; meet other moms,” said Abby Habush Schroeder, director of synagogue relations for Congregation Shalom. Currently, there are 15 to 20 moms in the club.
This mom’s chavurah was proposed by congregant Kelly Steiner. She teaches 7th and 8th grade at Shorewood Middle School and is a mom to two girls, an 8- and a 6-year-old. She and her husband attend Saints Peter and Paul Parish and Congregation Shalom. Steiner belongs to a mom’s group at the church and felt a desire to be a part of one at Shalom. “It has been really positive, bonding with other moms and building a sense of community and belonging,” Steiner said.
No topic is off-limits and the women decide what to discuss, whether it is kids and family issues, child raising, health concerns or otherwise, open discussion about Jewish topics or non-Jewish topics, Habush Schroeder said.
On the day of the get-togethers, moms can “have their little ones with them,” Habush Schroeder said. Crayons and coloring books are provided for children 1 to 3 years old, who are not yet old enough to go to Shalom’s religious school.
Given that Shalom is a large congregation, this club “forms a community within a community,” Habush Schroeder said.
Steiner also saw that women needed a social circle. “A lot of women didn’t grow up in the synagogue and it’s hard to break into the social scene,” she said.
Steiner has started to see moms outside of the monthly meetings sit together at Shalom family events. She hopes that the club meetings at Shalom will evolve and “become an authentic way for people to have a community outside of once a month.”
The Milwaukee Jewish Federation has a new-mother support group called Shalom Baby.
The Shalom Baby meet ups are once a month in informal gatherings at one of the mom’s homes. Jodie Honigman, a mother of a one-and-a-half year old, described it as, “toys and talk.”
She hosted one gathering last month. In regards to being a new mom, Honigman said, “it can be a stressful and exciting time.”
Shalom Baby has been a supportive experience for her. “It is nice to go to a place with people going through the same thing,” Honigman said.
Sami Stein Avner, the executive director of Tikkun Ha-Ir, a Milwaukee Jewish non-profit, and a mother of two, welcomed her second child on Dec. 31, 2017. Avner moved back to Milwaukee two years ago and is planning on hosting a Shalom baby event in the next couple of months. Avner said Shalom Baby is “nice to have an opportunity for really young families to get together.”
“Getting babies the same age together is exciting.”
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How to go
- Fill out a Shalom Baby Connection card. Link at https://www.milwaukeejewish.org/departments/outreach/shalombaby/
- Join the Shalom Baby Facebook group. Link at https://www.facebook.com/groups/shalombaby/
- Contact: Anna Goldstein, Outreach/Teen Philanthropy Coordinator for Milwaukee Jewish Federation, at 414-390-5733.
Where: Congregation Shalom, 7630 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Fox Point.
When: Select Sundays, 10 – 11:30 a.m., call for dates.
Contact: Abby Habush Schroeder, director of synagogue relations at Abby@Cong-Shalom.org or 414-352-9288.