Kavanot at Mayyim Hayyim

by Jody Comins, Development and Events Coordinatorjc photo

One of the things that I love about working at Mayyim Hayyim is attending meetings. I’ve been working in the Jewish community for 23 years and every agency runs meetings differently. It’s very common at Jewish Board Meetings to start with a D’var Torah (words of Torah) and I’ve done my fair share of those throughout my professional and volunteer career. At Mayyim Hayyim, we start our meetings with a “Kavanah,” an intention. Depending on the type of meeting, the Kavanah is different. At staff meetings, it’s literally a time to share about what’s happening in our personal lives. At board meetings we’ve been known to stand near the mikvaot and have a hand washing ceremony as we transition board members. Last summer, I served hoodsies at a meeting and we shared our favorite ice cream flavor and where we like to buy it. For a recent Development Committee meeting, I gathered examples of some of the positive feedback we receive. I thought the larger community would like to read it too!

From an Immersion Satisfaction Survey:

I traveled all the way from Providence because of your reputation for being open and respectful. Every step along the process not only met those expectations but exceeded them. The idea of going to the mikveh turned me off and after I got married I stopped going, but I decided to try again when I heard of Mayyim Hayyim. I’m so glad I did! I’ve had only positive and spiritual experiences since. The main reason I feel comfortable and go back is that it’s kosher but I don’t have to have a witness and am never judged for it. The place is clean yet “homey.” Thank you for all the hard work you’ve put in to make Mayyim Hayyim what it is!

From an Immersion Satisfaction Survey:

It was a truly wonderful experience. Having come through treatment for a brain tumor, I was there to help note my transition from a year of treatment to the end of treatment. I needed to start to let go of the cancer being the center of my days to being a person where the cancer is just another part of me. Immersing in the water with my breath held was a gentle experience. It felt so natural, like I was floating in a womb with enough breath to sustain me as the water held. I made a few wonderfully graceful flips before I came out. Thank you.

A Thank You Note to Staff:

Thank you so much for everything you did in getting the art exhibit up. It looks really beautiful. Thank you for your support and understanding and helping my daughter. It has been wonderful getting to know you and to learn about Mayyim Hayyim.

From the Guest Book:

The experience at Mayyim Hayyim was certainly lovely and enjoyable. I’ve been to a few mikvaot in my travels and it’s always nice to be received so warmly in such a beautiful environment. –from Jerusalem

From the Guest Book:

Thank you for such a gentle and meaningful guidance through my ritual experience. Janet, your presence was so warm and reassuring throughout my preparation, immersion and reflections afterward.

An Email to Staff:

I wanted to thank you for yesterday. Your warm embrace and even more caring attitude made the whole experience all that it was and then some more. Please share this with your Executive Director. They ought to know they have an amazing staff person in their midst. Thank you for all you did.

You made a life changing day for someone who so needed it. Hugs.

In Lilith Magazine this month:

People are using mikveh today in traditional and new ways – for healing and to mark a variety of transitions. To facilitate the increased use of mikveh by men, Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh in Newton, MA is looking for men for a male-only training to take place in 2013. Successful mikveh guides, they say, are able to display compassion and empathy, adapt to a variety of situations in “real time” and maintain a strong sense of boundaries.

Jody Comins is the Development and Events Coordinator at Mayyim Hayyim. Her favorite ice cream is chocolate with peanut butter and bananas, unfortunately it’s not lactose free. Stay tuned for her blog post next week after she experiences her first immersion on the occasion of her 45th birthday.


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