by Carrie Bornstein, Executive Director
The last time I wrote for this blog I was preparing to deliver a baby as a gestational surrogate, for a Jewish couple from London. So, yeah… that happened. On September 28, 2017 I delivered a 6 lb., 10 oz. baby girl – you can read the whole birth story here, if you like.
After the delivery I took a few weeks to recover. In the midst of reflecting on the powerful and empowering journey I took – one that, for me, was specifically linked to being a woman – I watched the #metoo movement unfold around me. It was a stark reminder of how, despite all of the progress our society has made with respect to women’s equality and the leadership we can take on, we still have so very far to go.
Watching it all gain momentum, of course it was clear that despite the varied personal experiences on the topic of harassment and sexual assault, just about every woman out there has some kind of story of connection. And of course, it’s no different in the Jewish community.
What is different, though, is our community’s capacity for using ritual to heal. Just like the #metoo stories, personal in nature though extraordinarily communal in their shared-telling, the mikveh offers a space for personal healing in the context of our wider community.
Mayyim Hayyim’s immersion ceremonies have become sacred texts to so many women and men over the past thirteen years. Their words give voice to the often unarticulated emotions of walking through the world. And just like any sacred text, the very same words can hold new meaning as time goes by.
“May I remember this moment of being held in safety, surrounded by living waters. May I be released from the pain of the past as I enter this new phase of my journey. May I know my own strength and trust my ability to care for myself.”