by Amber Caulkins, Director of Rising Tide Mikveh Network
Telling my own story can be a challenge. I love to tell other people’s stories (I studied journalism in undergrad, after all), but sharing what has been most meaningful in my own life takes practice. Fortunately, working at Mayyim Hayyim to support the development of our soon-to-launch Rising Tide Open Waters Mikveh Network has given me lots of practice in finding my own mikveh voice.
Since starting here last August, I have heard stories from people across the country – people who care deeply about sustaining, expanding, or creating a mikveh in their community. While I’ve gotten better at telling my own story, what I really enjoy is being able to share with others some of what I hear from my conversations with mikveh communities: stories about how people are working to engage their community in building a new mikveh; how a thoughtful Mikveh Guide changed the way a rabbi supports people visiting the mikveh as part of their conversion; stories about turning a once-underused, little-known mikveh into a place where people now come from hundreds of miles away for healing, celebration, and transition; or how the ritual of mikveh helped someone be less anxious and find peace in life (this person later dedicated her life to ensuring that the mikveh was available for others as a safe place). The list goes on and on.
For many of us in the mikveh world, we have a moment, or perhaps many moments, that define our “mikveh story.” Here on the Mayyim Hayyim blog, we are able to read about the many different ways mikveh has touched those around us. The stories people share here, whether funny, happy, or sad, give us a brief glimpse into their lives and their unique mikveh story. These stories help to open up the world of mikveh in a way that makes it more welcoming, accessible, and available to each of us.
We hope that the Rising Tide Open Waters Mikveh Network will support people as they find their voices, and that our stories, collectively, will help to inspire communities as they work to make the ritual of mikveh available to more people, at more moments in their lives.
Amber Caulkins is the Director of the Rising Tide Mikveh Network.