by Carrie Bornstein, Incoming Executive Director

I just made my donation to support Mayyim Hayyim’s newly named Aliza Kline Internship in Jewish Professional Leadership.

I know what you’re thinking… “of COURSE she made the donation – big whoop.”

But stick with me here.

Yes, I’m a little biased… but take a look at this quote from one of 40 former interns:

“I had 3 internships during my time in graduate school – I learned SO much more at Mayyim Hayyim than I did anywhere else.” – Leah Goldstein, Special Projects Coordinator at Gift of Life (Northeastern University, 2011)

And this one:

“Mayyim Hayyim showed me the way a well-organized institution should function. Its success lies in the enthusiasm of the employees, their commitment to success, and their responsible stances from fiscal concerns to logistical ones.” – Rachel Renz, Yeshiva University, 2010 and 2012

Indulge me – one more:

“Mayyim Hayyim showed me that different streams of the Jewish community can work together. The celebrations, respect for individual’s journeys, and professionalism set a standard for the type of work environment I strive to create and in which I seek to participate.” – Abby Finkel, Community Partnership Coordinator at Golda Och Academy (Hornstein at Brandeis, 2006)

I have worked with at least 20 interns during my time at Mayyim Hayyim. They are bright, eager, and because we give them real responsibility, they truly help shape our work.

Take Hannah White, for example. She was an intern from the HornsteinHeller program at Brandeis University in 2009-10. Hannah created Mayyim Hayyim’s first social media strategy, and transformed a vague idea for a blog inspired by a mikveh into the one you’re reading now (which, by the way, has been viewed more than 30,000 times in less than two years). Hannah went on to become the Communications Associate and Operations Manager at JOIN for Justice.

But there’s another reason why I felt compelled to give. This isn’t just about supporting our internship. It’s about celebrating Aliza Kline and her leadership over the past decade. Of course, you shouldn’t take my word for it:

“At my first supervision meeting, Aliza came with a written agenda. She told me that from this point forward, it would be my responsibility to create the agenda for our meetings. This empowered me to create the focus for our discussions, and I create my supervision agendas the same way today.” – Caroline Musin Berkowitz, Director of Volunteers and Outreach, The Ark (Hornstein at Brandeis, 2003-2004)

“Working with Aliza helped form who I am as a person and a professional. She showed me the ropes at a young age, gave me agency to be creative, and room to grow. She single-handedly led me to the career path I am on today.” – Emilia Diamant, Director of Programming and Initiatives, Prozdor at Hebrew College (Newton North High School, 2003)

“Because of Aliza’s incredible talent in creating and sustaining Mayyim Hayyim, I am working to create a mikveh in New York. She has literally changed my life and helped me shape my dream!” – Sara Luria, 5th year Rabbinical Student (Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, 2011)

By making your gift (by July 26) we can all join together to recognize Mayyim Hayyim as a training ground for strengthening the future of the Jewish community’s professional leadership. And in doing so, we get to honor Aliza’s legacy by sharing memories, blessings, and gratitude in an album celebrating her accomplishments, and those of Mayyim Hayyim’s first decade.

So join me in giving. Trust me – it feels good.

Carrie Bornstein is Mayyim Hayyim’s Incoming Executive Director. Follow her on twitter @carolinering.