Nisa Felps describes herself as a “spiritual entrepreneur” who enjoys bringing together Jewish women of all backgrounds for such gatherings as the Shabbat Project and the Pink Challah Bake.
Now, Felps, a Northwest Baltimore resident, is working on a project of a different kind — her first-ever wellness event, on Feb. 12, called “Women’s Night Out with Adrienne Gold: Connecting Mind, Body & Soul.”
“I have learned over the last five years that women empower one another, and when we are together, there is an energy that moves everyone,” says Felps, the event’s coordinator. “The idea behind this ‘Women’s Night Out’ is to unite all Jewish women and bring us together to stretch our minds, souls and bodies.”
The event — which will take place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Accelerator Space, 417 Benninghaus Road — will feature a keynote speech by Adrienne Gold, a popular Toronto-based lecturer and education leader of the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project.
The gathering will start off with a community wellness space featuring practitioners from Pikesville’s Zoetic Wellness Center. The practitioners will be available to encourage “conscious health and healing” through such services as meditation, acupuncture, nutrition and massage.
There will also be BRCA gene screenings and education from Myriad Women’s Health Inc. and Sharsheret, a national nonprofit that helps women with a genetic predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer.
“This is wellness event focused on being proactive about your health and enjoying life,” says Felps, 45, a two-time breast cancer survivor. “When I got involved with the BRCA gene community, I felt a lot of the events I attended were focused on when you have cancer and being sick. But no one wants to hear about getting cancer, so I’m approaching this wellness event with a different twist and a different eye. This is about having fun, being proactive about your health and just about living.”
One in 40 Jewish women of Ashkenazic, or Eastern European, descent test positive for the BRCA gene. While Felps does not personally have the gene, she says she knows firsthand how important it is to be proactive about one’s health and feels a responsibility to share her knowledge.
“As an Orthodox woman, I felt like people in the Jewish community weren’t talking about genetic mutations associated with cancer,” she says. “Planning events like this is cathartic for me, and it makes me feel good to be able to spread the information I have learned.”
Among the event’s co-sponsors are LifeBridge Health, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore, the Zoetic Wellness Center, Jewish Caring Network, the Etz Chaim outreach center and Jmore.
Gold, a veteran Canadian TV personality before becoming more religious, says she will discuss how one can nurture their soul and improve their life.
“If you ask most people if they are a body or soul, they will say a body with a soul,” says Gold. “However, Judaism believes our essence is our soul and our bodies are the vehicle that carries our soul around during our lifetime.”
Gold describes the soul as “a muscle that has to be activated.”
“We focus on what we eat and how we look, but we don’t spend a lot of time nourishing the parts of us that aren’t physical and tangible,” says Gold, 60. “In Judaism, you feed your soul through acts of kindness, by creating peace and wholeness in the home, with courage, generosity, wisdom and creating unity without uniformity.”
Gold, who joined the JWRP two years ago as a full-time Israel trip leader, spends much of her time speaking around North America about the concept of unity without uniformity.
“Unity without uniformity is not dependent on agreement,” she says. “It’s the ability to stand for what you believe in without withdrawing love, affection and respect for someone who may not see the world exactly as you do.”
At the “Women’s Night Out” event, Gold says she looks forward to passing along her insights and beliefs to the hundreds of women expected to attend.
“I am passionate about wisdom and teaching people how to maximize their existence by operating both physically and spiritually,” she says. “Jewish women have an energy that is extraordinary, and when you are engaged spiritually, I find you are a happier and more fulfilled as a human being.”
Felps says the evening will wrap up with a community Non-Impact Aerobics dance session, a sensory-based, mind/body conditioning program.
“This is about the interconnection between our mind, body and soul,” she says. “My goal is that women walk out of the event feeling empowered and good about who they are as individuals. We are privileged to live in this incredible, thriving Jewish community, and we’re lucky that people in the community are open to events like this one.”
For information, visit https://signmeup.ticketspice.com/womensnightout.
Aliza Friedlander is a Baltimore-based freelance writer.