by Amber Caulkins, Director of The Rising Tide Open Waters Mikveh Network
Imagine a bonfire in mid-August: a little bit muggy and damp, the smell of wood burning and bug spray, mixed with a hint of melting marshmallows and chocolate. While for many of us this might bring to mind memories of camp season or family vacations, I want you to imagine not just s’mores and songs, but mikveh stories. In an article recently published on Tablet, one participant at the Rising Tide Summer Gathering, Beth Kissileff, shared her experience from around the campfire. Her article helps bring to life some of the rich sharing and meaningful moments from the gathering.
I also want to share some of what other participants had to say about their time together:
“I met a group of amazing people, experienced an astoundingly well-organized retreat, and felt very supported in taking my mikveh project to the next level. We had practical workshops, visioning sessions, networking sessions, a bonding session (campfire), and lots of time to get to know individuals.”
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity for the mikveh movement to have a larger reach across states and countries, and greater power to influence all mikva’ot (not just community/progressive ones). We have the power to influence the larger Jewish world and be a visible model for pluralistic Jewish life.”
“I can’t wait not only to begin using mikveh regularly, but encouraging my peers to learn more as well. It means so much that not only was I allowed to attend as a 21-year-old, but that I was so, so encouraged at every session, conversation, and gathering. I left feeling so empowered, and that is in large part due to YOU all, the incredible women who organized this. I am touched. And I am changed.”
For me, this gathering was a time to see what makes the work of the Rising Tide Open Waters Mikveh Network so powerful: the people who are a part of it. Through sharing stories about our personal experiences and those of our communities, and by learning together about how we can make mikveh accessible and available to all, we were able to see our network in action and it was pretty amazing.
Amber Caulkins is the Director of The Rising Tide Open Waters Mikveh Network.