Mikveh Guides, National Network

This year, we are revisiting member spotlights about our Rising Tide Network members. These spotlights were previously featured on a separate Rising Tide website that is now a main section of this website. We’re excited to introduce our amazing members to you!


Original post by by Savannah Lipinski, 2022-2023 Rising Tide Intern

The Community Mikvah of Silicon Valley is a mikveh initiative in Los Gatos, California, which emerged in 2008 thanks to the vision of Rabbi Leslie Alexander and Jan Rose, and the financial support of a community member who insisted that the community needed a mikveh. In the early days of establishing the mikveh, they looked to Mayyim Hayyim for inspiration in facilitating immersions that could be a source of spiritual renewal, celebration, and healing. Their opening celebration featured several guest speakers, including actress and author Mayim Bialik, who had a family connection to the community. Among those in attendance at the event was also Deborah Zimmer, a volunteer Mikveh Guide who now serves as the main volunteer coordinator for the mikveh.

Deborah has a deep passion for the work that the Community Mikvah of Silicon Valley is doing. She says it’s “such a blessing to be affiliated with a community mikveh.” She considers it an honor to be able to offer an inclusive space that helps people include traditional rituals in their modern lives. One thing that makes the Community Mikvah of Silicon Valley special is their commitment to making the ritual personal and helping people find meaning in what they are doing. They look beyond the physicality of descending the seven steps and immersing, and instead focus each ritual on the transformation of the heart and soul.  

One project Deborah is committed to is helping demystify and destigmatize mikveh for the members of the community who have had negative mikveh experiences in the past. She wants to show the affirming side of mikveh, and she’s doing that through community partnerships and education. A fifth grade Hebrew school class from a local synagogue recently visited the mikveh, and Deborah hopes to continue offering field trips and group visits to other Hebrew school classes, synagogue groups, and sisterhoods. She says, “The goal of what we do as Mikveh Guides is make people feel comfortable,” and that comfort begins with offering people a safe and affirming way of engaging or reconnecting with mikveh.  

Looking toward the future, the Community Mikvah of Silicon Valley is excited to grow their community of Mikveh Guides and participate in future Mikveh Guide training through the Rising Tide Network. They are also hoping to find ways to help advertise the mikveh to the local community so that community members understand that the mikveh is there and can be used by everyone. The Community Mikvah of Silicon Valley is doing incredible work providing the Bay Area with open and inclusive mikveh for all people and all occasions. The power of this work is reflected in Deborah’s words: “It is joyful and fulfilling and meaningful, and it’s always and honor to be a part of someone’s immersion.”  

Learn more and connect with Community Mikah of Silicon Valley at www.jvalley.org/get-connected/mikvah