by Rachel Eisen, Mayyim Hayyim Intern
Things can change in an instant. Last week, nearly 70 teens from Camp Ramah in New England came to visit Mayyim Hayyim. Our Associate Director of Education, Leeza, was rotating them in three groups through an education program, and she was masterfully teaching the second group when it started hailing.
And when I say hailing, I mean these hail were at least a cubic inch.
Did I mention the third group wasn’t in our building? Oh no, they were across the parking lot participating in their own camp program in a room at Temple Reyim and they were supposed to line up outside in about five minutes.
In the lobby, as I prepared materials for that final group, a scary-sounding ping hit the window panel. Then another, then more and more. Leeza and the campers were sitting in the mikveh area as hail pelted the skylight windows. Then my phone rang. It was one of the counselors with the third group at Temple Reyim. She couldn’t send her campers outside in hail and lightning.
I looked at the sky. Another counselor pointed to a gap in the clouds. “I’ll call you back in a couple minutes,” I told the counselor who was at Temple Reyim. “Maybe the storm will break.”
And it did. Almost as quickly as it had come, the hail was gone. A few last rolls of thunder, and all that was left was rain. I called the counselor back. “Are your campers up for getting a little wet?”
Usually no one gets wet at our education programs, but the two groups made a run for it, group #2 back to Temple Reyim and group #3 over to Mayyim Hayyim. No danger from hail or lightning, and everyone got to learn about our mikveh.
That hail storm was a powerful reminder of the inconsistency of life: the same natural water that we need for the healing powers of our mikveh can, in other forms, cause harm. But our mikveh, and our campers, weathered the storm intact.
In all of our lives, we may experience pain and joy, and we may never even see it coming. The same thing that brings us happiness one day could hurt us the next. But the waters of the mikveh (at least, our indoor mikveh) remain calm and constant. Yesterday there was hail that left branches strewn about the parking lot and caused countless damage elsewhere. Today, as I look out our windows, I see a sunny, beautiful day.
Yet the mikveh, unlike the weather and our lives, is unchanged – except that 70 more people now know about it and its power to help us mark those changes. It is still here, ready to welcome us, for whatever reason we need it.
Rachel Eisen is an intern at Mayyim Hayyim and a graduate student in the Hornstein Program at Brandeis University. She is studying for a Master’s degree in Jewish Professional Leadership as well as a Master’s degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies.