Atlanta, Georgia is home to one of the world’s largest and most active communities of Jewish moms, the online Facebook group Jewish Moms of Atlanta or JMoA has nearly 3,000 members and is a vibrant daily meeting place and resource. Be’chol Lashon caught up with Nicole Marcellus Wiesen, one of the founders and moderators of JMOA.
BL: How did the idea for JMOA come about?
Marcellus Wiesen: I’m originally from San Diego by way of Miami and moved to Atlanta when I got married. As a new mom, I was looking for ways to connect with other Jewish moms. We were still shul shopping and had not yet found a congregation that met our needs. I wanted a Jewish mom’s group. There was not much out there. I went to a mommy and me group that was being hosted by Chabad Intown. I met a friend there and we were discussing the lack of places for Jewish moms with little kids to connect, so we decided to start one.
BL: Did you start online?
Marcellus Wiesen: No, at the time Meet Up was the big thing so we began there with a few dozen people, and then when Facebook took off JMOA was moved over there. As of today, there are 2,904 members.
BL: What was your inspiration and vision for JMOA?
Marcellus Wiesen: I’m not your typical white Ashkenazi Jew. But growing up in San Diego people in the Jewish community never asked me if I was Israeli, or if I converted or anything like that. If you came to synagogue they were just glad you were there. Everyone was welcome. I wanted to create a similar space for Jewish moms.
BL: Have you succeeded?
Marcellus Wiesen: I’m always amazed. JMOA is a judgment-free space where moms ask all kinds of questions, get help, get advice, share and connect. It does not matter if you are ultra-Orthodox or secular or just married to a Jew. If you are in a Jewish family you are welcome. People who would never meet in real life because they have different life experiences or live in very different geographic locations connect and help each other.
BL: What kinds of things do people ask about?