Sima is the certified personal trainer, nutritionist entrepreneur. Her focus is wellness and helping women find a fuller experience of themselves.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in Los Angeles, California. I grew up in Israel and moved to LA when I was 20. I love spending my time with my precious teenage daughter Kayla. I love creating healthy recipes, visiting holy sites, attending spiritual retreats and empowering women to be happier, healthier and fitter.
How do you connect to Judaism?
I love being Jewish. I love the tradition, the holidays, the culture, the food and even my big crazy ( loud) Jewish family.
How do you prepare to host people for a holiday meal or celebration?
I usually cook most of the food, especially the challah! I’m famous for making the best challah in town. If I’m invited I usually bring a vegan cake or dessert that everybody goes crazy for when I tell them that it’s made with only 5 ingredients and that its kosher, gluten free, sugar and dairy free.
How does the ideal holiday celebration look and feel to you?
I love creating a beautiful table, lighting candles and saying prayers with everybody before we begin eating. I play classical Jewish music. More then anything I love hosting a lot of people. The more the merrier.
Leading up to, during, and after the holidays, how do you reconnect with yourself?
I meditate and pray every single morning. Sometime at night also. I do meditate and pray to connect with God. I sit still and listen to the still voice of God to get guidance.
What is one of your most memorable holiday experiences?
Remembering the atmosphere of Rosh Hashanah with my family in Israel: The whole family gathering together to cook and the smells of Rosh Hashanah foods filling the house and my daughter playing with all her cousins. Holidays feels sacred and special.
What’s your absolute favorite holiday dish?
I’m obsessed with my Mom’s matzo ball soup that she makes for Passover. It’s so good.
Do you have any nontraditional holiday rituals or habits?
I pay special attention to “feed my soul” before and during the holiday. It helps me to grow and to become the woman that I wish to be in the world.
What was something that your mother (or another influential figure) shared with you about the holidays that has stuck with you?
My grandmother told me to wear all white, to light candles and to pray for everybody. She would always cook for an army and invite as many people as possible.
What’s your number one tip or trick you’ve discovered that makes the holidays smoother, more positive and meaningful for you?
Be loving with everybody before they arrive and during the holiday experience. This infuses the holiday with a special energy.
Sima, thank you for sharing. I especially love that your grandmother taught you to pray for everybody.
This post is part of our Chag Notebook series where we interview inspiring women and men about their approach to the holidays. In the comments, tell me: What most inspired you about Sima’s responses?