Mind, Body & Spirit: Event helps women ‘pause, replenish, connect’


“Food has powers. It picks us up from our lonely corners and sits us back down, together. … Food is the keeper of our memories, connecting us with our pasts and with our people.”

Jessica Fechtor, in her memoir, “Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals that Brought Me Home.”

At age 28, Jessica Fechtor was happily immersed in her life as a graduate student and a newlywed, and was considering starting a family. Then one day, while out running, an aneurysm burst in her brain.

Fechtor’s journey to recovery began in the kitchen, as soon as she was able to stand at the stovetop and stir, and it was there that she regained her strength and drive, from the restorative power of cooking and baking.

Written intelligently, and with humor and warmth, “Stir” is a heartfelt examination of what it means to nourish and be nourished. 

On Sunday, May 7, Fechtor will share her inspirational story as the keynote speaker at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island’s Mind, Body & Spirit event, chaired by Lisa Davis, Robin Engle and Barbara Feldstein. This community women’s event will take place in the Alliance’s newly renovated Dwares Jewish Community Center, in Providence.

Susan Froehlich, vice chair of philanthropy at the Jewish Alliance, said she is thrilled that the Alliance is hosting its first Mind, Body & Spirit event for women.

“It will be amazing to have women of all ages and from across our state come together to learn and be inspired by our great cadre of speakers,” Froehlich said. “Women need to take time out of their busy lives to pause, replenish and connect with each other, and this event will do just that.”

Fechtor will kick off the morning with her address, which will be followed by breakout sessions with inspiring and informative authors from across the country on topics from motherhood and life’s transitions to organizing one’s life and home and women’s health and wellness.

The scheduled speakers and their topics are:  

Alica Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner, who are both Emmy-winning producers and the writers of three New York Times bestselling books on motherhood. Their session will explore the bumpy road of motherhood with humor and honesty. 

Are you wondering what’s next in your life? What will excite, fulfill and stretch you? Barbara Wasserman, psychotherapist and life transition coach, will help you begin to rediscover your purpose and create an action plan for your next act.

Drs. Romy Block and Arielle Levitan, both physicians, will share their common-sense, medically sound approach to using vitamins to improve your diet, exercise plan and overall health.

Are you trying to live more simply, with fewer things in less space? Felice Cohen, author of “90 Lessons for Living Large in 90 Square Feet (... or More)” explores downsizing, decluttering and “living large” in any space.

Dr. Mache Seibel, a leading authority on women’s wellness and menopause, will help women transform their fear and confusion about menopause into insight, inspiration and information for healthy, happy and vibrant lives.

All women are invited to attend the Mind, Body & Spirit event. Free babysitting will be provided for children 6 months to 10 years, with advance request. Also scheduled is an optional belly dance class at 8:15 a.m. Event registration and breakfast begin at 9:30. The keynote address is at 10. Breakout sessions run at 11:15 and 12:15 p.m. and the event wraps up at 1:05 when participants can meet the authors and get books signed.

Admission is $10, plus a gift in any amount to the 2017 Annual Campaign.

For more information on this event or to RSVP, contact Danielle Germanowski at dgermanowski@jewishallianceri.org or 401-421-4111, ext. 109. The full schedule and speaker bios are available at www.jewishallianceri.org/mind-body-spirit.

STEPHANIE HAGUE is the philanthropy officer at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.

Alliance, women