Sheri Gurock has served as President of the Mayyim Hayyim Board since January 2016. We will honor her integrity, fierce passion, and devotion to innovative Jewish life at Coming Up for Air on May 24 at 6:00PM. Join us for mikveh stories and circus arts as we celebrate Sheri and her husband, Eli, and Idit Klein. Enjoy what Sheri wrote in 2015 as she prepared to step into this role.
by Sheri Gurock, Board President
Originally posted December 16, 2015
There’s only one dream I can vividly remember having as a child. If I told you it was about the mikveh, would you believe me?
One day, when I was very young, I overheard my mom say she’d bumped into a friend at the mikveh. I’d never heard that word before, so I asked what it meant. “It’s a sort of pool,” my mother told me.
That night, I had a dream. My mother and her friend were going down a waterslide carved from stone, splashing down into a beautiful, subterranean pool. In the morning, I asked whether the mikveh had a water slide and was disappointed to learn it did not.
I wonder what that little girl would say if she knew she’d someday become President of the Board of Directors at Mayyim Hayyim. She’d probably ask if the President would have the authority to put in a water slide (nope).
Mayyim Hayyim doesn’t look anything like the mikveh in my dream, but it is infused with the same beauty and joyfulness. Over the last 10 years this organization has given me so much. It provided a connection to my Judaism when I wasn’t yet part of a community. It opened my eyes to how ancient ritual can be modernized and made relevant to a wider audience. It showed me how one Jewish organization can welcome, without judgment or limitation, every kind of Jew. It helped me connect with my older daughter right before her Bat Mitzvah, during a time that felt tenuous and stressful. It showed me what real inclusiveness looks like and the impact it can have. And it gave me the opportunity to serve an inspiring organization and to work with incredible people towards a mission that feels so relevant.
As I step into the role of President this January, I’m following in the footsteps of Anita Diamant and Jennifer Slifka Vidal, both women of enormous talent and vision. I try not to think too much about that, because it scares me. But I also know I need to be a steward of the organization’s storied past in order to be an effective part of its future. It is an honor and a privilege, and I’m very excited for the journey.
Sheri Gurock is a facilitator and executive coach, as well as the co-founder (with her husband, Eli) of Magic Beans, a specialty toy and baby gear store with six locations in the northeast. She is also the mother of three children, including two teenage daughters who enthusiastically included Mayyim Hayyim in their B’not Mitzvah celebrations. Before starting a family and a business, Sheri was a copywriter who specialized in branding.