by Shira Cohen-Goldberg, Board Member

Where are we going, Momma?

To a special program, just you and me.

What is the program?

We are going to learn about water and a special place in our community called Mayyim Hayyim.

What does Mayyim Hayyim mean? Is that Hebrew? What are we going to do there? Can we stop for ice cream too?

My little guy is 5 and a half, just lost his first tooth, and is learning to read and write. To go along with all of this, his favorite question, unsurprisingly, is: Why?

And, so, on a Sunday afternoon after Passover, we attended Water Wonders, a program which provided him age-appropriate things to wonder about with regard to ritual and water, cosponsored by one of my favorite community institutions, Mayyim Hayyim and by my most dependable source for age-appropriate Jewish books, PJ Library.

But mikveh is very complex, you might say. How do we introduce this to children in a way that is direct and also meaningful? I, personally, never even knew about mikveh until I was in my early 20s. How do we build upon the traditional conception of mikveh, making it expansive, interesting, and wonderful for kids?

At Water Wonders, we learned about the power of water through science, art, and dance. I had never thought about it in this way, but water is powerful, and a tangible way to bring meaning to celebrations and milestones. When kids reach a new stage of growth, a water ritual through mikveh may provide a sensory opportunity to celebrate the change in routine. In our adult lives, we also celebrate changes in routine and milestones through mikveh.

At a Passover seder, we do unusual things (e.g., eat only matzah, lean to the right, take drops of our glass of wine) so the children will ask us about them. Children notice changes in routine and view the world as full of wonder. Let’s give them opportunities to ask.

Mayyim Hayyim is hosting a brand new Water Wonders this Sunday, May 21st from 10AM-12PM. There will be a giant water-themed art project, scavenger hunts to explore all the fascinating water sources, snacks, and schmoozing! We hope you’ll join us by registering here.

shira cohen goldbergShira M. Cohen-Goldberg serves on the board at Mayyim Hayyim. She works as a literacy specialist at an educational non-profit focused on organizational change. She spends most of her time working and rearing her children Hallel and Ya’ara, in partnership with her husband, Ari.