"With all the commotion in preparation for the big day, it felt good step outside and connect with God at the mikveh." Serena, on the eve of her bat mitzvah
Mayyim Hayyim’s bar/bat mitzvah program began in 2005 with a boy named Ben. Because Ben’s bar mitzvah Torah portion included references to the water rituals, he and his parents agreed that Mayyim Hayyim would be an ideal mitzvah project--a requirement of his congregation's b'nai mitzvah prorgram.
After studying in traditional hevruta (one on one) mode with a male graduate student intern at Mayyim Hayyim, Ben invited the students in his day school class and their parents to come to an evening session at Mayyim Hayyim where he explained how a mikveh is constructed, the history of the ritual, and Mayyim Hayyim’s innovative reclamation of it. Ben created his own ceremony and immersed privately the day before reading from the Torah for the first time.
Since Ben's experience at Mayyim Hayyim, more than 400 boys and girls have either immersed (or performed a hand washing ceremony) to mark this change in their status, from childhood to full-fledged membership in the adult Jewish community. Most of them simply called ahead and came to Mayyim Hayyim for an hour the day or two prior to their bar/bat mitzvah celebration -- some with just a parent, some with a group of friends and family (immersions themselves are completely private). More extensive learning opportunities, all individually tailored to each child, may be discussed and arranged in advance.
This program is currently seeking partner congregations with which to continue this program.
For information about resources for bar/bat mitzvah students, contact our Associate Director of Education or 617-244-1836 x 203.