Accessibility and Inclusion, Life Transitions

By Maya Shwayder

I grew up in a secular household and didn’t even know what mikveh was until college. I learned about mikveh from my more religious friends. I was curious, but never really had access, and friends had relayed to me some less-than-stellar experiences. As someone who didn’t really know what she was doing, it didn’t feel like it was “for” me.

I came to Mayyim Hayyim to support a friend who was pregnant. She was immersing to get ready to welcome her child. I wanted to immerse because I just wanted to experience mikveh for the first time.

I was amazed and grateful there was an option for me to just try it for no specific reason. There were so many different ceremonies and rituals I could choose from to guide my immersion, and I was invited to customize the experience for myself.

After I immersed, I thought to myself: I would do this more often if I could. There should be more mikva’ot like this! The space that I was given to structure my experience in whatever way I wanted to was so meaningful.

All of our lives are so busy. It’s really hard to squeeze in time for yourself to simply be in the moment and take a pause, but I’m really grateful there’s a space like Mayyim Hayyim that’s there for those of us who just want to dip in and experience this beautiful part of Judaism without too much guilt and obligation.


Maya Shwayder is a writer and journalist living outside Boston. When left to her own devices she will binge nerdy podcasts, blast Taylor Swift music, and make way too make food.