History Repeats Itself in Atlanta… and I Like It

by Carrie Bornstein

Just over four years ago I shared with you the exciting news that Libi Eir, Awakened Heart Community Mikveh in Raleigh, NC was nearing completion. They’d trained 22 volunteer Mikveh Guides using the Diane and Chester Black Guide My Steps training and since they opened Libi Eir has facilitated more than 500 immersions for nearly 300 Jews of all backgrounds.

Well, history is repeating itself in the loveliest of ways, this time in Atlanta, GA. Initially supported by the Marcus Foundation in 2010, Mayyim Hayyim began consulting to folks in Atlanta to determine whether something similar could exist there. We mobilized working groups, made site visits, and since then the community’s leaders propelled their vision forward over time.

Atlanta1Last week, a group of Atlannans (I learned how to say it properly) from MACoM, Metro Atlanta Community Mikvah, visited Mayyim Hayyim for a three-day site visit. Twenty-two of our staff, board members, Mikveh Guides and volunteers gathered over the course of their visit to share our experiences and offer advice. Together with MACoM’s board members and Executive Director, we covered everything from how to engage a diverse set of stakeholders to running education programs to operations and logistics.

Atlanta2MACoM has broken ground on their mikveh, construction is underway, and they’re on target to open for visitors this November. And they’re in the process of training their first group of mikveh guides, 18 of them in all, using our curriculum too.

Sound familiar? I look forward to sharing all kinds of statistics with you four years from now about the numbers of people MACoM has welcomed, about the lives they have touched.

But more than anything, I can’t wait to see how MACoM puts its own stamp on their holy space. I know that in time MACoM, just like Libi Eir, will come up with new ways to support their visitors, new ideas for teaching students, new ways to celebrate with brides and grooms. And Mayyim Hayyim will be all the better for it.

Carrie Bornstein is Mayyim Hayyim’s Executive Director. She’s pretty sure she should take a southern mikveh tour sometime in, say, February.

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