Simchas to Simchas

Conversion and Affirmation, Jewish Community, Marriage and Relationships

by Elizabeth Eggert, Administrative and Marketing Assistant

A few weeks ago, I got a call around 9:15, just a few minutes after I’d sat down at my desk with my cup of coffee, ready for the day. It was the administrator at a local synagogue, whose clergy were accompanying a woman to Mayyim Hayyim later in the day to become Jewish. This conversion was especially notable because the woman and her partner were going to be married right after the ceremony – at Mayyim Hayyim!

The administrator on the phone asked me if Mayyim Hayyim provided a huppah (wedding canopy) for the couple to use. When I explained that we didn’t, she said they would try to find one, but may not be able to do the wedding that day after all.

I ran downstairs to ask my coworkers – can you hold huppah poles around 1:30? After I explained the situation, they were eager to help and offer suggestions – Does Temple Reyim next door have huppah poles we can borrow? Can we stand on chairs to hold up the huppah? Can we find branches outside and cut them to fit?

I called Temple Reyim next door to ask if they had a huppah we could use, and unfortunately, their huppah poles were out for repair. They offered a tallis (prayer shawl) to use as a canopy, however, and their mazel tovs to the couple!

At this point, we were only a few hours away from the conversion/wedding. I explained the situation to the bride and clergy, who decided that they would do the huppah at a later date.

A few minutes later, another coworker walked in, and I explained the situation again. She immediately jumped into action as well, calling another local synagogue, who did have a huppah we could use! I called the bride again to share the good news, but she decided that she would rather space out her simchas (celebrations) and still do the huppah on a different day.

Even though the wedding wasn’t able to take place, she still had a wonderful conversion experience and was able to celebrate with family, friends, her clergy, and Mikveh Guide in our celebration space. I loved how the entire staff of Mayyim Hayyim and our broader community sprang into action to make this woman’s experience as positive as possible, truly welcoming her into our Jewish family.

Elizabeth Eggert is Mayyim Hayyim’s Administrative and Marketing Assistant

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