By Allison Poirier, Mayyim Hayyim Intern
I started working at Mayyim Hayyim just two weeks ago. I am enjoying myself so much, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to work in such a warm and caring environment with such enthusiastic people. They’re awfully clever people too, and they decided that one of my first projects as an intern would be to look through the Mayyim Hayyim guestbook for inspirational messages. The point of this perusal was to find messages we could use to explain to other guests and students how it feels to immerse in the mikveh.
Over the course of a few days I came across truly amazing stories. A few guests left poems, and a number of children drew pictures of their experiences. I read notes from brides and their mothers who have come here to find a moment of calm before the wedding. I was deeply moved by notes from guests whose tears mixed with the living waters as they immersed to heal themselves. And there are messages from B’nai Mitzvah students who arrived as children and left ready for their lives as Jewish men and women, future leaders of our community. This mikveh means so much to all of these different people.
Reading all these stories made me wonder, what’s in the water that makes this so special? It’s not magic water. It’s just some regular rainwater, just the same as the water that leaks through your raincoat or floods your basement. Yet it seems like this water works wonders. It heals people. It refreshes them, enables them to connect with themselves and with the Divine, and it empowers them to go back out into the world stronger than they could have imagined.
In the two short weeks I’ve been here I have seen that it is the people here – the guides, educators, staff, and general fan club – who are the magic in the mikveh. They help people understand the mikveh and then create a beautiful space for everyone to connect to the waters in their own way. At the end of the day, immersing in the living waters helps people achieve a meaningful experience, but they would not be able to get there if it were not for the wonderful people they meet along the way. I am thrilled to be working with these wonderful women (& men!) this summer and I can’t wait to learn from them.
Allison Poirier is one of the lucky Mayyim Hayyim summer interns. She is a rising senior in the Double Degree program at Barnard and the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she studies Comparative Religion and Talmud.