by Rene Katersky

This letter was sent to us by Rene, a long-time mikveh guide and educator, following the “Get Ready: Releasing the Past, Embracing the Future” program that Mayyim Hayyim ran before the High Holidays this year:

My favorite local beach beckons, with its sparsely inhabited sand, picturesque beauty, and crystal clear waves lapping the shore; a perfect Sunday. Why would anyone choose to leave such a gorgeous late summer Scituate day, I wonder, as I finish my beautiful bike ride through town.

But my treatments begin tomorrow, the High Holidays are beginning soon, and my personal ritual of doing my daily month-of-Elul reading and thinking at the beach (which I have been doing for many years) has been spotty at best. I am in need of something.  I do a last minute online sign up and hit the road for Mayyim Hayyim to participate in its education program for High Holiday preparation.

As sDSC_0014oon as I walked through the gate, I knew that I had made a good decision. As I meandered down the familiar path, I immediately noticed the freshly planted fall flowers, and then heard the warm and friendly voices of those greeting and welcoming us to the space.


DSC_0025Arriving early, I had an opportunity to introduce myself to one of the presenters, Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz. I immediately knew that I could learn from her and find meaning while being in her company this day. The Shefa Gold chants brought welcome respite and centered me. As I listened to others share their take on the familiar words, our meaningful interpretation of the sometimes troubling liturgy of the High Holidays was satisfying and brought me comfort and joy.

The texts studied wDSC_0032ith Rabbi Marcia Plumb provided me with new perspectives and encouraged me to embrace different possibilities in this new year.  Although I am comfortable with giving to others, being able and open to receiving is a must right now, and I was reminded of this throughout the program from presenters and fellow travelers alike.

Although I did not participate (so many choices!), I sense that the yoga session spent outside with Rabbi Adina Allen allowed participants a chance to use their bodies in new ways in order to reinterpret familiar liturgy.  How wonderful!


Kol HaKavod, a job well doneand thank you Mayyim Hayyim, for anticipating what we need, and providing an opportunity for growth and renewal in a loving, warm and welcoming environment. It is very much appreciated.

Rene Katersky lives in Scituate, MA with her husband Ed. She is a proud mikveh guide and educator at Mayyim Hayyim and serves as an Ambassador with Reform Jewish Outreach Boston, both of which feed her soul.