By Mindy Rubenstein | firstname.lastname@example.org
An online group connecting local Jewish moms has topped 1,100 members since it began in April 2014. The group spans the spectrum of religious observance and bridges the invisible gap that can occur in the real world. Because, after all, a Jewish mom is a Jewish mom.
As the Facebook group’s cover photo touts, “We don’t do calm.”
The questions and posts on the Jewish Moms of Atlanta page run the gamut of what Jewish moms may want to know, from seeking a mohel to making carpool connections to repurposing furniture.
Business Tuesday gives members of the group the opportunity to promote their businesses each week, and the group has a business directory members can access. Other files for the group include baby sitters and nannies, lists of activities for children, and part-time job postings.
“The group has grown exponentially, especially the last three or four months,” said group co-founder Keri Kaufmann, who lives in Buckhead. “It’s really just word of mouth.”
Kaufmann founded the group with Fallyn Vogel, who has since moved to Orlando, Fla., after they met in Jewish Intown Imas, a meetup group that no longer exists.
What started with a couple moms keeps growing as people connect their friends, said Kaufmann’s group co-leader, Nicole Wiesen, who lives in Toco Hills.
Wiesen, who started Jewish Intown Imas with Erica Udell in 2011, said she and Kaufmann spend an hour or two each day managing and updating the online group.
Not everything is done online. During a recent JMOA event at the Loft in Lenox Square, about 35 women gathered to shop and schmooze. The store offered attendees 40 percent off, and the event was held after the mall closed so the women could shop in relative peace in quiet.
JMOA organizers also served kosher wine and refreshments, including wraps, cheese, olives and brownies. The food, which was pas and cholov Yisrael, was provided by the Spicy Peach, a kosher specialty store; the wine came from Kosher Gourmet. Wiesen said she wanted to make sure that everyone who attended could partake, even though many of the moms do not adhere to strict kosher standards.
The women in the group are spread from Atlanta to Alpharetta and Sandy Springs to Kennesaw.
According to its site: “The intent of this group is to provide a place where Jewish moms in Atlanta can feel a sense of community … your source for fun activities around town, your own ‘coffee talk’ about, well, almost anything (especially mommy stuff), and a place to ask questions or share great ideas!”
Kaufmann said they want to include all affiliations intown and around the outskirts. “Atlanta is a huge city, and we wanted to bring everybody together to talk about one purpose — to talk about being a Jewish mom.”
The most common question is about brit milah. Women also discuss the Jewish holidays, arrange play dates and meetings, and make recommendations for things like music lessons and after-school activities.
Even on controversial topics, such as vaccinations, everyone gives a thoughtful response.
“I can count on one hand the number of times I have had to moderate,” Kaufmann said.
The Facebook group is listed as “secret,” so women must be added by a friend or request membership through a message to the moderators. They also can email email@example.com.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct details about the founding of JMOA and a predecessor meetup group, Atlanta Intown Imas.