Women Talk, and have been doing so since the beginning of time. The Gemara tells us that “Ten measures of conversation descended to the world. Women took nine of them and the rest of the world took one,” because the world depends on women to make order from the chaos.
Women encourage each other through the wonders and worries of family life. And as the years roll on and the only constant is change—in our bodies, in our homes and in our roles—the need is even more critical to hear and to be heard.
Enter three women with a vision: JWOW!
WOW!, which stands for Jewish Women of Wisdom, is a community for middle-aged women launched in 2019 by Sara Brejt, JD, Rebbetzin Faigie Horowitz, MS, and Miriam Liebermann, MSW.
“Around ten years ago I was recruited by Targum to edit an anthology, The Best is Yet to Be, geared towards women in their fifties and beyond,” Miriam explains. “The title of the book, and its premise, is taken from a famous Robert Browning poem that reads, ‘Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be.’ Many women fear getting older but I see it as an adventure, and I believe that if we are proactive in planning for these years, tending to our physical health and spiritual growth while making sure we have a supportive social network, then with Hashem’s help, the best is really yet to be. The book was well received, and I’ve already started on the sequel, To Fill the Sky With Stars. Faigie Horowitz, whom I’ve known since high school, contributed to both volumes.”
Faigie, the daughter of the late Novominsker Rebbe, zt”l, and rebbetzin of Agudas Achim of Lawrence, spent over 20 years in management for nonprofits, including the Crown Heights JCC, Met Council on Jewish Poverty and Chai Lifeline. She is also the cofounder of Rachel’s Place, a shelter for runaway and homeless girls in Brooklyn, and a board member of Makor Disability Services of Brooklyn. She writes a column on shidduchim in The Jewish Home, and is a career counselor and director of communications at Caring Professionals Home Care. “Women our age,” she says, “who may or may not be empty-nesters, tend to be more educated. Many of us are still working. We may have mothers who are Holocaust survivors and/or mothers who were full-time homemakers. We may be caregivers to our parents while helping our children. We need role models, and we need to share what we are experiencing with others who get it.
“Once the apple falls off the tree, you can’t reconnect it,” she continues. “Everything changes when the children leave home—the boys to yeshivah and the girls to seminary. And even when they come back, things are different. They’ve learned to manage without us. That’s a good thing, but we have to redefine who we are and what we’re needed for.”