ceceleyIn light of Leeza’s interview blog post with her now husband after doing the Beyond the Huppah class, I thought I would take a stab at one about the Beneath the Surface class I took with my 12-year old daughter, Elliana.

Ceceley: Do you want to write a blog post with me about the Beneath the Surface class we took at Mayyim Hayyim?

Elliana: No, I don’t remember it.

Ceceley: Really? Why don’t you get the stuff from it and we can look it over to refresh your memory.

Elliana: Oh yeah, now I remember. I really liked that class.

Ceceley: So why did you like the class?

Elliana: I liked it because it was preparing me for things to come, and it helped me think about my Bat Mitzvah.

Ceceley: How did it help you think about your Bat Mitzvah?

Elliana: It basically brought the essence of the mikveh, which is kind of free, spiritual, and creative, and helped me incorporate it into the planning of the Bat Mitzvah. What were you expecting to get out of the experience?

Ceceley: I was wanting to have some time for just the two of us where we could do something special. I also wanted to introduce you more fully to the mikveh ritual, and to Mayyim Hayyim because it is such an important place for me, and because the ritual is so meaningful. I wanted to give us a space to prepare for the work we were going to do in planning your Bat Mitzvah. I think Beneath the Surface was exactly what I wanted/expected!

What was it like to be in the group with the girls, most of whom you didn’t know, and all of whom had different ideas of what their Bat Mitzvah meant to them?

Elliana: It was very interesting, and it allowed me to think about what my Bat Mitzvah could be if I chose to go a different route.

Ceceley: What did you think of the parts where you and I were working alone together?

Elliana: I liked it because it was a time for us to talk about what we learned, what we were feeling, or a subject they guided us on. I really liked when we wrote the poem together about being a window in the mikveh:

A window would know better than to look down.
A window would hear the prayers.
A window would feel the vibrations of the longing of the hearts of those below.
A window reflects the sacredness and sends it on to the waters of the sky.

What was your favorite part?

Ceceley: I liked talking with the other moms, but I admit that I most enjoyed our alone time together where we could talk and reflect. I always had you run ahead of all the other girls and secure our favorite spot at the left mikveh. We took off our shoes and socks and put our feet in the water every time and did our assignments, which were always beautiful. Do you remember what we chose for our ritual we created?

ceceley-4Elliana: We did that book, right? We were supposed to use it to talk about the mikveh, my Bat Mitzvah, and other things.

Ceceley: But we didn’t really keep up with it did we?

Elliana: Nope.

Ceceley: Maybe we should get it out again and try to use it more?

Elliana: Yeah.

Ceceley: Now that you have become a Bat Mitzvah and the ceremony and celebration were everything you wanted it to be, how do you think this class contributed to it being the perfect day it was?

Elliana: We used some of the art we did in the class to decorate the room for the ceremony and it inspired some pages of the siddur (prayer book) we created.

Ceceley: I think the class really helped put us on the same page in our thinking. I realized by talking with the moms that my own Bat Mitzvah felt less about me and more about other things. This class helped me to articulate that, and I wanted to make sure you felt your Bat Mitzvah was more about your journey. I think that helped you to feel more supported by me… do you agree?

Elliana: Yes. I think it helped our understanding of each other and what we wanted from this Bat Mitzvah.

Ceceley: Any message you want to give to the moms or girls who might consider taking this class?

Elliana: Go to the mikveh and immerse because it is a magical and spiritual place where you feel connected and touched by God (or whatever you believe in).

There is one spot left for this year’s cohort; click here to register. 

Ceceley Chambers is blessed to be a chaplain at the Dana Farber Cancer Center in Milford, MA and at Hope Hospice in Providence, RI. Her husband, Stephen, daughter Elliana, and son, William, help keep her grounded in her home in Providence. She was an intern at Mayyim Hayyim in the summer of 2010 and is a proud Mikveh Guide (cohort 7) and Educator.