The Most Special Person on the Planet

by Lisa Berman, Education Center Director

It’s a good day when you create a program described as “absolutely, amazingly, awesomely phenomenal.”  Frankly, it’s even better when a 12 year old says, “I thought that the girls would all have been forced to come by their moms, but we were all genuinely interested – and it was a lot of fun!” You can’t beat truly honest feedback.

Since 2008, Mayyim Hayyim has been offering a program for Bat Mitzvah-aged girls and their moms (or grandmothers, or aunts, or big sisters) called Beneath the Surface. It’s a chance for moms and girls to learn, share, and create a ritual to mark this very special — and sometimes very challenging — time in their lives together. Created by Boston-area educators Penina Adelman, Rabbi Sarah Tasman, Naomi Adland, Laura Bramson Hyman, Lauren Bohne, Melissa Patz, and myself, Beneath the Surface has been described as “a peaceful oasis in time to focus on and celebrate our relationship to each other, to Judaism, and to this moment in time.”

No description can accurately express what this program means to the women who take it. In their own words:

From the girls:

I love this program because I really got to interact with my mom and do stuff with her that was ‘our thing.’ This was really meaningful and made me have a different attitude about my bat mitzvah. Also I got to share this meaningful experience with the most special person on the planet – my mom!” –Becca

“I think this was a unique experience I couldn’t get anywhere else other than Mayyim Hayyim. I met so many girls and moms who really wanted to enrich their Bat Mitzvah experience.  I loved being at Mayyim Hayyim so much — the atmosphere is so calm. I learned so much about myself that I never really thought about before. The food was good, too! I loved what we did and I wish we could do it all over again.”  –Caroline

“I loved the program! It was creative and fun. I recommend this class to Every Girl having her Bat Mitzvah. Overall, it was AWESOME.”  –Lili

From the moms:

“This program is absolutely, amazingly, awesomely phenomenal. It was even more meaningful and heartfelt than I expected. I loved the chance to meet other moms and daughters and to hear about their triumphs, challenges, and ideas. What meant the most to me was the very sacred, peaceful space created. This program has deepened my relationship with my daughter, my relationship with Judaism (and how cool it is!), and my understanding of Bat Mitzvah as a passage.  The bottom line is: my relationship with my daughter is deeper, more meaningful and better than ever because of the time spent with Beneath the Surface at Mayyim Hayyim.”  –Elayne

“This class was an opportunity to step back, think about the importance of my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah and what it means for her, me, and our relationship. It was amazing to create a ritual together and to have the space to share my feelings about this milestone with her in a more private way. I think we bonded in a new way.”  –Susan

Click here to learn more about this program. Registration for the 2012-2013 session is open through October 10th, as space allows.

Lisa Berman, Mayyim Hayyim’s Education Center Director, has been involved with Mayyim Hayyim since its opening in May 2004. Lisa trained as a Volunteer Mikveh Guide and then served as the liaison to area congregational religious schools and adult study groups. Since 2006, Lisa has directed the Paula Brody & Family Education Center, where she develops curricula for all ages and interest levels; she also organizes and oversees more than 110 programs annually.


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