Making History

Making History

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

6:30 PM ET

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be inspired
A fun and festive evening of storytelling and music
Celebrating two visionary leaders we love for MAKING HISTORY in our community

Celebrating the dedication of the Patti Grossman z”l Beit Din Room,
a place for welcome and joy


Jonathan Sarna

Jonathan Sarna arrived in Boston at the age of ten. His father, Nahum Sarna, was a biblical scholar at Brandeis and his mother, Helen, a librarian and cataloger at Hebrew College. He attended Brandeis, and then Yale to study American history with a special focus on American religion.

Jonathan then worked and taught at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, home of the American Jewish Archives. That’s where he met his wife, Ruth Langer, now a professor of Jewish studies at Boston College. With Ruth in the family, Jonathan says, they had all of Jewish history covered. “My father covered the ancient period, Ruth does medieval, I do modern and contemporary.”

In 1990, Jonathan returned to Boston and Brandeis to assume the new Braun Chair in American Jewish history. One of his first projects was editing, with Ellen Smith, The Jews of Boston. Jonathan decided to write a one-volume history of Judaism in America. Shortly after beginning, however, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. The prognosis was grim and he wondered whether he would live to finish the book. But he did recover and in 2004, to coincide with the 350th anniversary of American Jewish life, American Judaism: A History was published to great acclaim.

Jonathan has known about Mayyim Hayyim since its inception. He recalls talking to founding president Anita Diamant, and made his support known to the community. After Mayyim Hayyim opened, Jonathan brought young journalists from a program for North American religion reporters, as a case study in how to cover Jewish life and traditions. Mayyim Hayyim “was the highlight of the field trips. The journalists understood that this is lived religion, not just theology and thought.”

When Mayyim Hayyim hosted its first international conference in 2010, Jonathan agreed to participate in the keynote panel discussion. He recalls how impressed he was by that gathering: “This wasn’t just a singular institution. It had become a movement… This is something all Jews should be proud of.”

Shanna Shulman

Shanna was raised in a secular family in St. Louis and Chicago, where her parents helped establish St. Louis’s Central Reform Congregation. She first learned of mikveh while taking a Jewish studies course in college—coincidentally, she recalls studying the work of fellow honoree Jonathan Sarna in that class.
When she and her spouse, Mark, were planning their wedding, they turned to Anita Diamant’s The New Jewish Wedding, and separately immersed in a traditional mikveh as part of their preparation. When the experience fell short, Shanna did it again—in solitude at an outdoor pool in the mountains—a little less traditional, but a more comfortable way for her to connect with the ritual.

In 2004, when Mayyim Hayyim was preparing to open, Shanna was to be the very first immersion. She planned to mark her readiness for the birth of her second child and created a ritual that became the basis for Mayyim Hayyim’s Ninth Month of Pregnancy ceremony. Her son arrived before the mikveh was ready, so Shanna immersed three months later to acknowledge his safe delivery. Since then, she and her family have regularly marked important life events at Mayyim Hayyim.

Shanna and Mark are parents to Caleb, Jonah, and Gideon, and members of Temple Beth Avodah. Professionally, Shanna works to increase access to health care for vulnerable populations.

Shanna joined the Mayyim Hayyim Board of Directors in 2014 and was instrumental in shaping its first strategic plan; she is now spearheading our next. She has also served as Vice President of the Board and Governance Chair. For Shanna, Mayyim Hayyim is a meaningful connection to Judaism that is intentional, relevant, and rooted in tradition. “So often we find ourselves in a point of pain or transition—or we haven’t taken the time to celebrate when something wonderful happens. I love sharing Mayyim Hayyim as a resource for those moments in our lives.”

Co-Chairs and Host Committee

Co-chairs and Host Committee

Alena and Alex Akselrod, Mark Barer, Sue and Robert Housman, Rabbi Ruth Langer, PhD, Barry and Ellie Shrage, Dalia* and Ari Wassner

HOST COMMITTEE (as of 5/3/2021):

Host Committee as of May 3, 2021

Barbara Barer
Bert Barer
Allison F. Bauer
Joan and Steve Belkin
Nancy and Mark Belsky
Alison and Ed Bermant
Rabbi Allison Berry, Rabbi Laura Abrasley, and Cantor Leah Shafritz
Kimberly and Dan Bissell
Diane*^ and Chester Black
Michelle and Darren Black
Miriam Berkowitz Blue*
Joan Blum and Daniel Hassenfeld
Carrie^ and Jamie Bornstein
Sharon Broder and David Rose
Shira and Ariel Cohen-Goldberg
Veronique and Will Corrdin
Kimberly and Gary Creem
Rachel A. Daniels
Margie Ross Decter and Adam Decter
Anita Diamant* and Jim Ball^
Mady and Bruce Donoff
Elizabeth Eggert
Rachel Eisen and Nathan Vaughan
Sherri Ades Falchuk* and Dr. Kenneth Falchuk
Merle and Rabbi Eddie Feld
Amy*^ and Jonathan Fleming
Yarden Fraiman and Samuel Mendoza Fraiman
Linda and Michael Frieze
Deb Gaffin* and Richard Bennett
Zelda^ and Dr. Elkan Gamzu
Nicole and Josh Gann
Elisha* and Sam Gechter
Jonathan and Kim Golden
Karla Goldman
Beth and Larry Greenberg
Sheri* and Eli Gurock
Ziva R. and Jonah Hassenfeld
Martha Hausman and Rabbi Andrew Vogel
Lynne Heller
Elyse Hyman
Ronda and Josh Jacobson
Lisa Fishbayn Joffe and Jonathan Joffe
Daniel Judson
Lynn and Alexander Kaye
Darci and Jonathan Klein
Aliza Kline and Rabbi Bradley Solmsen
Kelly Knopf-Goldner and Mark Goldner
Rabbi Claudia Kreiman
Rabbi Ira Korinow and Sally Bock
Rabbi Jamie* and Harold Kotler
Doreen^ and Dr. Andrew Kriegel
Dr. Lori Lefkovitz and Rabbi Leonard Gordon
Marcia and Alan Leifer
Elizabeth and Charles Levin
Rabbi David Lerner and Sharon Levin
Gail Levine-Fried, PhD and Robert M. Fried, EdD
Shahin Lockman
Laura Mandel
Amalia Mark^ and M. Louis Gordon
Melissa Martens Yaverbaum
Beth Silverberg Marx and Dan Marx
Jane Matlaw
Dan Miller
Myra Musicant and Howard Cohen
Jordan Namerow* and Idit Klein
Rabbi Suzanne and Andy Offit
Emily and Rabbi Jay Perlman
Kathryn Rexrode and Steven Goldman
Dr. Judith Rosenbaum and Rabbi Or Rose
Jessica Rosenberg
Shirah Rubin and Bret Ancowitz
Adene Sacks and Joey Hellerstein
Rabbi Rachel* and Doug Saphire
Rosalie* and Dr. Sol Schulman
Stacy Schwartz
Rabbis Jaimee* and Helayne Shalhevet
Peter*^ and Betty Shapiro
Dr. Laura and Rabbi Aaron Shaw Frank
Marshall and Deborah Skolnick Einhorn
Jennifer Slifka
Ellen Smith and Bill Pastuszek
Rabbi Rafi Spitzer
Rabbis Liza and Keith Stern*
Carol*^ and Steven Targum
Temple Beth Avodah
Jesse and Larry Tobin
Roz Garber Toledano and Allan Toledano
Rhoda and David Trietsch
Lisa and Neil Wallack
Dara Weinerman Steinberg*
Lisa Weinman
Arnee R. and Walter A. Winshall
Karen* and Mark Wolfson
Barbara and Rabbi Hank Zoob

*Board Member
^ Mikveh Guide

Sponsorships and Tickets

Become a sponsor and show your support

Event Sponsorship - $20,000+

Blessing on inside cover + Log-in access for 6 households

Ocean - $10,000+

Blessing on inside cover + Log-in access for 5 households

Sea - $5,000+

Full page blessing + Log-in access for 4 households

Lake - $3,600+

Full page blessing + Log-in access for 3 households

River - $2,500+

Half page blessing + Log-in access for 2 households

Stream - $1,800+

Half page blessing + Log-in access for 1 household

Pond - $1,000+

Quarter page blessing + Log-in access for 1 household

Brook - $500+

Eighth page blessing + Log-in access for 1 household

Under 35 Host Committee - $172+

Name listing + Log-in access for 1 household

General Admission - $72

Log-in access for 1 household

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Questions? To learn more, contact Rachel Eisen, Chief Operations and Advancement Officer, or call 617-244-1836 ext. 211.

Questions? To learn more, contact Rachel Eisen, or call 617-244-1836 ext. 211.