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 Savannah Lipinski, Rising Tide Intern, 2022-2023 Rising Tide Intern

Mayim Rabim is a Rising Tide mikveh in Des Moines, Iowa.  It has been fully operational since its grand opening on November 20, 2022 and is used by the entire state of Iowa in traditional and innovative ways. The idea for Mayim Rabim emerged in 2017 when Rabbi Emily Barton came to Des Moines as the Rabbi for Tifereth Israel, the conservative synagogue in Des Moines. The same year, the orthodox synagogue, which had previously housed Des Moines’ only mikveh, sold its property, leaving the nearest mikveh to Des Moines two hours away in Omaha, Nebraska. Around the same time, a survey released by the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines indicated that nearly 70% of the Jewish community of Des Moines felt that it was important for the community to have a mikveh. Rabbi Barton saw the opportunity to serve the community by building a mikveh at Tifereth Israel. After a generous seed gift from a donor looking to support the synagogue, the project to bring a community mikveh to Des Moines was a go. Nearly five years later, Mayim Rabim opened its doors to the public, thanks to the hard work of Rabbi Barton and the support of the Jewish community across the state of Iowa.  

Rabbi Barton refers to the Jewish community of Des Moines as “small but mighty.” With just a few thousand Jewish residents, there is an incredibly strong focus on community. As the Des Moines metropolitan area rapidly approaches one million residents, Rabbi Barton expects the Jewish community to continue to grow and strengthen. The strength of this tight-knit community is undoubtedly something that makes Mayim Rabim special. Support from Mayim Rabim continues to come from across the state of Iowa. This is a community mikveh for the entire state and even region, offering access to Jews throughout the Midwest who may not have a local mikveh of their own.  

Rabbi Barton first reached out to Mayyim Hayyim for support and resources early in the development of Mayim Rabim and was connected to the Rising Tide Network. She found it helpful to connect with Rising Tide for resources on mikveh development and for support from leaders in the open mikveh movement from across the country. In addition to joining the Rising Tide Network, Rabbi Barton partnered with Mayyim Hayyim on mikveh education, which she felt has been integral in the process of gaining support for the mikveh. She is grateful for the support of both Mayyim Hayyim and the Rising Tide Network, and she says that this support has inspired her to have a “pay it forward” attitude. Having recently gone through the process of bringing a mikveh to her community, she hopes to provide support and advice to others in the process of developing new mikveh initiatives.  

The name Mayim Rabim, meaning “many waters,” comes from Psalm 93, a selection from the Kabbalat Shabbat service, and was chosen by Rabbi Barton for its deep literal and figurative significance to the mikveh initiative in Des Moines. Des Moines sits on two rivers, contributing a literal aspect to the abundance of water behind the name Mayim Rabim. Rabbi Barton also sees the mikveh as being the product of the coming together of the Jewish community from across the state of Iowa, which supported the development of the mikveh and whom the mikveh intends to serve. The mikveh was constructed to the strictest halachic standard, allowing all members of the Jewish community to have an inclusive and accessible experience, speaking to yet another way that Mayim Rabim is bringing the Jewish community of Des Moines together. 

Learn more and connect with Louis and Marilyn Hurwitz Community Mikveh at