by DeDe Jacobs-Komisar, Development Manager
Things were kind of noisy during the past few weeks here at Mayyim Hayyim. We brought in contractors to redo all of the floor tiling on the wet side downstairs. When Mayyim Hayyim was originally built about a decade ago, the design included lovely, big squares of wood paneling amidst the tile, both in the reception and mikveh areas. Unfortunately, it turns out that over the course of a decade wood tends to expand, ever so slightly, which in our case led to the tiles developing huge, ugly cracks. This was harshing our “beautiful mikveh” mellow, to say the least. Plus we could not have people tripping all over cracked tile. So, it was time for a redo. I don’t know what the exact steps are in retiling a floor, but apparently they involved lots of banging and heavy machinery. The good news is that it looks absolutely gorgeous; you are of course invited to come check it out for yourself.
Coincidentally, my home was also rather noisy of late — or noisier, I have young kids. Two weeks ago, my father-in-law, Mitch, flew up from Florida with the goal of helping my husband Yaakov gut and renovate our downstairs bathroom. We bought a new house and moved in about a month ago. It’s a great house, but unfortunately came without a bathtub in which to wash the aforementioned young children. My husband assured me that we would have a new bathroom, complete with tub, by the new year.
This would mean enlisting Mitch to come up and be of (enormous) help. I’ve always admired the relationship between my husband and his father. On my side of the family, we never stop talking about our feelings, while the Komisars don’t really get into all that. They’re very close and speak regularly, but somehow connect on deep emotional levels via conversations about car restoration, home repair, and assorted gadgetry. I don’t mean this condescendingly; I’m inspired by their ability to bond over these things. They say plenty to one another without needing to say anything.
This would be the first time we would see Mitch since an emotionally turbulent summer, and there was healing to be had. I naively thought this might take the form of the messy hugging and crying that is my family’s second nature, but I should have known better.
The therapy was direct and intense: for seven strenuous days, Yaakov and Mitch gutted the bathroom down to the studs, then retro-fitted 2014 fixtures, electricity, and plumbing into 1872 construction. There were approximately 14,327 trips to Home Depot. There was a lot of cursing and grunting and highly skilled work done. Mitch and Yaakov labored well into the new year, laying the floor and wall tile of our state-of-the-art new bathroom, and then collapsed before getting up again to drive to the airport for Mitch’s flight home.
When I immerse at Mayyim Hayyim in the future, I’ll appreciate the beautiful new tile as well as the hard work that went into it. The healing and renewal that people will continue to experience here will be a direct result of this labor. When I bathe my kids (and myself) in our fancy new bathroom, I’ll know that its construction was itself a process of healing and renewal, in which nothing–and everything–was said.
DeDe Jacobs-Komisar is the Development Manager at Mayyim Hayyim. She loves her family, her father-in-law, her husband, her kids, and her new bathroom.