By Leah Hart Tennen, Mikveh Center Director
Since Mayyim Hayyim opened nine years ago (Happy 9th birthday, Mayyim Hayyim!) over 1000 people have chosen to immerse before their wedding. For some, a bridal immersion is the first of what will become a regular niddah (monthly) practice. For others, it’s a one-time event to mark a transition between one chapter of life and the next. Either way, it’s a celebratory event; and one that we are honored to share with people.
We are so lucky that many of our guests have chosen to write about their immersion experiences and share them with our community: Two weeks ago, a bride immersed, and shared her connections to our Seven Kavanot; a year ago, a woman brought her daughter and forty other women to share a Mexican-Syrian-Peruvian immersion ceremony. A former intern wrote a blog post about her vision of her upcoming bridal immersion. She scheduled her appointment over a year ago and that day will finally be here this week; and, a rabbi shared his thoughts about immersing before his wedding (his immersion was in a natural body of water).
I, along with other Mikveh Guides, have been privileged to witness and/or be a part of other pre-wedding celebrations. One woman, who lost her husband a few years ago, decided to immerse using our ceremony for Mourning a Loss. She immersed three times, then walked up the seven stairs, exchanged one ceremony for our ceremony for Becoming a Bride, descended the seven stairs and, again, immersed three times. We have had grooms come with brothers, fathers, grandfathers and friends; we have had couples come together; we have had young people and older people; traditional brides and the bride who wore jeans; grooms who wore tzitzit (ritual fringe) and grooms who came alone. Groups of people have come with food and drink to celebrate the bride or groom. Sisters of brides and fathers of grooms have also immersed to mark the special day. Last year, a couple came from Israel, specifically to marry in Massachusetts and to immerse at Mayyim Hayyim. Each man brought a friend to be with them while they prepared and another friend to witness their immersions. When they finished immersing, both men emerged wearing crowns and dressed all in white.
Wedding season is definitely upon us! If you, or someone you know, are getting married anytime soon, we would love to welcome them to Mayyim Hayyim to help them celebrate the joyous occasion and mark this important transition.
Click to see our ceremonies For a Bride and For a Groom. We also have ceremonies for Mother or Father of the Bride and Groom, which can be emailed upon request. For more information or to schedule an immersion, please call 617-244-1836 or fill out an online appointment request form. You can also purchase immersion gift certificates for a bride or groom (or anyone, for any reason!).
Leah Hart Tennen trained as a mikveh guide and educator in 2010 before joining the Mayyim Hayyim staff in March of 2012. Before coming to Mayyim Hayyim, Leah was a Child Development instructor and Early Parenting Group facilitator at Isis Parenting. Prior to that, she was the manager of the Group Mentoring Department of The Big Sister Association of Greater Boston. Leah earned her Masters in Social Work and Masters in Public Health from Boston University. She is currently a community-based Big Sister, on faculty at the Boston University School of Social Work, as well as a teacher and clinical consultant for Girls’ LEAP Self Defense.