by Leah Robbins, Administrative and Marketing Assistant

Thanksgiving 2016 is over, but Hannukah is approaching, and I am still riding the thankful-train for all that Hashem has gifted me this year.

Let us review my timeline: In April I completed my undergraduate thesis at the University of Florida about Jewish feminism, during which time I became enamored with the mikveh. My research about niddah observance and feminist interpretations of the mikveh became a sport – I couldn’t get enough. The words of my learned Jewish sisters would jump off the pages, sparking a fire in me that would soon take over my life. They’d write: “Under the waters of the mikveh the shackles of our mortality can be dissolved – we regain the pristine spiritual connection with God that existed in the Garden of Eden.” “The potent force of the mikveh reunites our bodies with the primordial forces of Creation.” Have you ever heard something so beautiful? I hadn’t!

Fast forward to some rapid, major life transitions: In June I moved from the deep South to Boston where I would encounter an extraordinary Jewish community made up of as many Jews and Judaisms as letters of the Aleph-Bet. During this time I was lucky enough to be welcomed to into the fold of the Mayyim Hayyim staff, an experience that would forever change how I relate to my own Judaism and other Jews. One Jewish institution where Jews across generations, gender identities, sexual orientations, ethnic identities, and spectrum of Halacha observance find refuge within its walls?… where I’m from that’s a miracle of biblical proportions.

Somewhere along this wild ride, my brand new home suffered a devastating fire that displaced myself, my friends, and my partner. Without question, without hesitation, the entire Mayyim Hayyim community ran to my rescue, raising funds, securing generous housing, gathering replacement clothes and creature-comforts. I did not even have time to panic that my new life had quite literally gone up in flames because Mayyim Hayyim was unconditionally there for me in a desperate time, as I know it has been for many of you.

It is now December and as Hannukah peeks over the horizon, I am reminded that I don’t necessarily need the overpriced stand mixer I have been eyeing for years. I don’t need an array of HomeGoods tchotchkes to dot the walls of my newly settled home. Everything I really need is already at Mayyim Hayyim – heart, holiness, and haimish hospitality.

As I look around and count my many blessings, I am proud to say that my adventure at Mayyim Hayyim is on the top of the list. I invite you to enjoy the many gifts that Mayyim Hayyim has to offer this coming Hannukah. Give an immersion gift certificate to a loved one, treat yourself to an immersion, or give a gift today.

leahLeah Robbins joined the Mayyim Hayyim team in June 2016. She is enjoying her first ever snowfall and warmly welcomes survival tips for the bitter Boston winter ahead.