by Talia Schnur and Jody Comins, Development and Events Coordinator
Talia: I came to the mikveh with my eighth grade class and the sixth grade class from MetroWest Jewish Day School (MWJDS). The visit was really fun because we got to learn why different people come to the mikveh, and how it works. We learned about how adding a drop of rainwater to the bath makes the mikveh kosher. The measurement Jews used in biblical times was only enough to fill an olive! We also learned that people come to the mikveh for many different reasons besides conversion and before a wedding. People might go after cancer treatment, after a period of mourning, or before a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
I know because I immersed before my Bat Mitzvah. My mom and I took the Beneath the Surface class almost two years ago. It was a really cool class because other moms and daughters were there before their Bat Mitzvahs too. We learned about lots of Jewish rituals including the mikveh and my mom and I created our own ritual. There were times that I got to learn with the other girls and the moms were separate and other times we were all together. During the class I decided that I would immerse before my Bat Mitzvah.
This past June, the Sunday before my Bat Mitzvah, I came to Mayyim Hayyim with two of my grandmothers, my aunt, two of my female cousins, my mom and my sister. Everyone there gave me a blessing before I immersed. My grandmothers talked about this rite of passage that they didn’t have the opportunity to participate in and my sister told me she hoped I wouldn’t drown. The whole experience was very calming, after the stressful weeks leading up to this time. Preparing was soothing because Mayyim Hayyim provides all the things you need and it looks and feels like a spa. When I actually went in the water, I was surprised by how warm it was. I felt a spiritual connection to the water itself.
After our recent class trip to the mikveh, my girlfriends and I decided we want to immerse before our graduation next spring. We’ve been in school together since Kindergarten and it will be an important transition for us before we go off to different high schools.
Jody: I loved having the MWJDS kids visit the mikveh. It was so much fun to see Lisa Berman teaching “my” kids, most of whom I’ve known for many years. Hearing the questions and seeing them learn, and process what they were learning, was inspiring. When the girls came to me and asked if they could immerse before their graduation, I was thrilled and excited that they got it! They understood the idea of marking a transitional moment in their lives by coming to the mikveh. How lucky we are to have a place in our community to mark these kinds of occasions.
Beneath the Surface, Mayyim Hayyim’s program for bat mitzvah girls and their mothers is a three-session Sunday afternoon program; it is an opportunity for mothers and daughters to explore the transition of becoming bat mitzvah. The next session of this program is scheduled for March 3 – 17, 2013. This program is supported by a generous grant from the Boston Jewish Community Women’s Fund.
Talia Schnur is an 8th grader at MetroWest Jewish Day School. When she’s not thinking about her summers spent at Camp Young Judaea (Daled ’14) she is busy dancing. Jody Comins is Talia’s mom. She is the Development and Events Coordinator at Mayyim Hayyim. When she’s not at work, she’s busy being a soccer mom to Talia and her younger sister Elizabeth. She is married to her camp sweetheart, Mike Schnur.