by Rachel Eisen, Director of Annual Giving
At a small organization like Mayyim Hayyim, no one’s job exists in a silo. My title may be “Director of Annual Giving,” but my job doesn’t only include managing our yearly fundraising. I also oversee our communications; there’s also the art gallery, helping with programs when needed, and, of course, taking on other projects that might come up.
I recently spent an afternoon mapping out my biggest projects over the next few months, and it gave me some much-needed perspective on what’s in store for Mayyim Hayyim – and how much we’re needed.
Right now, we need Mayyim Hayyim for so many reasons. One reason is what Mayyim Hayyim offers to people like Rabbi Bryan Mann, who immersed after protesting white supremacy in Charlottesville, VA. One of my projects involves amplifying stories like Bryan’s, so more people can have a place where they’ll find respite and rejuvenation in return for all the good they’re doing.
Another reason is that Mayyim Hayyim is the leading force in the Jewish community for inclusion and access, modeling how to live out the values of welcome for other mikvehs, synagogues, Jewish community centers, and more. Another of my projects involves continuing this work by evaluating and improving how we’re welcoming Jews of color.
These reasons, and so many more, motivate me to show up and do my job to the best of my ability. These reasons also motivate me to dig into projects that will help Mayyim Hayyim grow, so we can welcome more guests and share our mission with more communities: projects like collaborating with new partners on our art gallery, transitioning Mayyim Hayyim to a new database, and creating new materials for our guests and supporters.
When I give tours of Mayyim Hayyim, they don’t usually go beyond the first floor. Astute observers sometimes notice the stairs leading up to the second and third floors. “What’s up there?” they may ask. The simple reply is, “That’s where the staff offices are.”
The longer reply is: That’s where the everyday work happens. That’s where the nitty-gritty tasks of calling and e-mailing and writing and evaluating and creating take place. But these small tasks make up big projects, and big projects are what make Mayyim Hayyim – both the Mayyim Hayyim of now and the Mayyim Hayyim of tomorrow – possible.
I recently returned from my honeymoon, where my husband and I explored canyons in the southwest. What’s amazing about canyons is that they’re formed over huge timespans, as each drop of water in a river picks up sediment and erodes the rock. Water, a key ingredient here at the mikveh, is a powerful element. What we’re doing up here on the second and third floor of Mayyim Hayyim is just like a river forming a canyon: with each task, with each project, we’re making a bigger and bigger impact on the Jewish community.
Rachel Eisen is the Director of Annual Giving at Mayyim Hayyim.