by Carrie Bornstein
Last week, Cindy shared how she found meaning at Mayyim Hayyim in 2004 after being turned away from her local mikveh when she told them she’d be marrying another woman. I was inspired by her words – but what struck me more was her willingness to give Mayyim Hayyim a chance when she so easily could have wanted nothing to do with organized Jewish life altogether.
But I was entirely unprepared for what happened just after sending out Cindy’s story. I checked our appointment calendar to see what was in store for the day, and found that another woman was visiting in preparation for her wedding.
What happened this time, though? What is the impact of our work ten years later?
Not only was our bride visiting with the woman she’d be marrying, but the schedule showed that both brides were also bringing their mothers – and all four would immerse in celebration.
This is the impact of our work. Ten years later and our stories are quadrupling. Because of Mayyim Hayyim each of these women feels validated and is able to access personal meaning and spiritual fulfillment not otherwise possible.
Just last week I learned about another story. A young educator visited Mayyim Hayyim with her students for an education program. While touring the mikveh she noticed a sign in one of the preparation rooms advertising a support group for Jewish women struggling with infertility. She quietly took down the number and contacted the leader, only to discover that after meeting for years, the group disbanded after all its members had conceived or adopted children. The leader did, however, suggest one person who might be interested in forming a connection, and the two got in touch to share their stories. Over time these two women formed a close bond and eventually, each of them became pregnant as well.
Last week this educator, brought in through a program with her students and drawn to others in the community who simply wanted to support one another, called to inquire whether she might hold her daughter’s baby naming at Mayyim Hayyim because she feels such an affinity to our mission.
It’s been ten years since Mayyim Hayyim became a reality and I am continually amazed by the impact of our work. I am inspired by Jews from all walks of life coming in and making this place their own. And I am proud to know that Boston is a much better place to live because our volunteers, teachers, clergy, and visitors have shaped our work so deeply.
Turning ten is great fun and I look forward to celebrating with the more than 450 of you coming to The Ripple Effect this Thursday night.
I can hardly wait to see what will happen in May 2024.
Carrie Bornstein is Mayyim Hayyim’s Executive Director. Follow her on twitter @carolinering.