Jewish Women's Circle DIY Seder Plate Program Draws Community Members Together
Lindsey Gremont hosted a well attended Jewish Women's Circle soap making event in her home. Credit: Rochel Levertov
By Michelle Kaman
Jewish women from as far away as Wimberley and Leander came together to paint Seder plates, bond as a community, and engage in a meaningful Jewish experience.
“The Seder plate painting event was so fun,” said Amanda Pollok. “Being creative and getting into the spirit of Pesach! I always love going to JWC events to get to know other women in the community.”
Jewish Women’s Circle, an initiative started by Mussy Levertov, co-director of YJP, an organization specially geared towards the needs of millennial Jews and recent graduates, topped off its second year of successful programming with the DIY event held at Cafe’ Monet just before to Passover. More than 30 women came to learn about the meaning of the Seder plate, the Passover holiday, and to enjoy painting ceramics.
Jewish Women’s Circle grew out of the impactful, highly attended, Mega Challah Bake, where more than 500 women came together to bake challah. JWC brings together Jewish women from the Austin metro area without the labels of sect or observance in order to create a cohesive Jewish community.
"We want to make Judaism truly enjoyable for people,” explained Levertov. “Give women a chance to have fun together, meet other Jewish women of all backgrounds and stages of life, and why not add a little wine and cheese?"
Women at JWC events engage in creative ways to add meaning and understanding to their Judaism.
“I participate in JWC events because I believe they will help me strengthen my Jewish home and identity,” explained author Courtney Taylor. “My favorite part was the conversations [and] networking. It is comforting to hear others’ Jewish issues in the bigger community, not so different from those I face alone in the smaller cities.”
Past events have included Zumba and smoothie making, menorah making with tile and granite, improv games, babka baking, natural soap making, flower arranging, cake decorating, and guided painting on canvas, and more, culminating each year with the Mega Challah Bake. Each event is a hands-on way to appreciate Jewish life and learning and is a celebration of women.
Events for the coming year are in the planning stages.
“I have enjoyed the various events in the past and will look forward to more,” said Suzanne Newberg, who has hosted an event and plans to host again. “They have been fun and varied in style. I enjoy getting together with a community of diverse women. I feel that the organization is warm and welcoming and provides opportunities for women to feel comfortable in their own skin. I hope that more women take advantage of the community and knowledge offerings.”
The Jewish women of Austin take the lead in the implementation of events. Most are hosted in the homes of community members and highlight the talents of women who come to share their skills and gifts with others. In this way, Jewish women who might not interact have a chance to create a united community outside of the boundaries and limitations of sect or affiliation while learning a new skill or letting off steam at the end of the day with newfound friends.
Author Lindsey Gremont opened her home to JWC for a soap making party. She holds the top rank at Young Living Essential Oils and enjoys sharing her passion with others. When approached about hosting a JWC event, she did not hesitate. Even her daughter got involved instructing participants on how to use essential oils and soap materials to their greatest benefit.
“I love connecting with other women in the community to do fun things and learn together,” Gremont explained. “Always happy to share my home when needed! Any time you bring women together, amazing things happen. We need community events and enrichment and it’s so rewarding to see that happening here in Austin.”
When asked her favorite part of JWC events, Lindsey enthusiastically responded, “I personally love how Mussy connects what we are doing to a Jewish spiritual theme. It really is a powerful message every time!” ■
For more information on upcoming Jewish Women’s Circle events, Bat-Mitzvah Club, YJP, holidays, synagogue, First Fridays, YJP leadership opportunities, volunteer opportunities, and more, visit yjpaustin.org and chabadaustin.com.