When Nicki Kruger, 45, and her husband moved to St. Louis from Iowa, she didn’t know a soul. With three young children, Gabi, 10, Benjamin, 6, and Shauni, 4, Nicki knew it would be important to find a community that her family could join. And she wanted that community to be part of the Jewish community. “Our first step was to search on Google and find a synagogue,” she said.
The family joined B’nai Amoona and learned about the Jewish Community Center and Jewish Federation. Friends Nicki met at the JCC gave her name to Jayne Langsam, Concierge for Jewish Families with Young Children, funded by Jewish Federation and a program of the Central Agency for Jewish Education. Langsam contacted Nicki and ticked off ways she and her family could get involved. “Jayne’s like this little angel making sure I’m connected to the Jewish community,” Nicki said. “She came to my house; she helped me to feel comfortable and let me know about the larger Jewish community, the activities and resources.”
The Concierge Service is a grassroots effort to build community by reaching out to young families and letting them know what the Jewish community in St. Louis has to offer. For the Kruger family, that included adult education at Millstone Institute, events at the JCC, camps, and information about pre-schools. “She’s a real connector,” says Nicki of Langsam. “We’re like Lego bricks, and she fits all the little Lego pieces together. She’s fabulous—a friendly face that I feel is looking out for me.”
With Langsam’s encouragement, Nicki has connected with other Jewish people in Wildwood, where she lives. “The Jewish population out here is growing, and I want to encourage a Jewish presence in this area,” she says. “St. Louis has a much bigger Jewish community than Des Moines. There we would have only one event. Here there are so many things to choose from. Jayne gave me a whole list of things that will keep us busy for two years! It’s fabulous, and I love it.”
For more information about Concierge Services, contact Jayne Langsam at firstname.lastname@example.org or (314) 443-3870.