Almost two months have passed since I began working at Mayyim Hayyim. I have settled into my desk, built a challenging, but civil relationship with our computer systems and their quirks, and am actively growing as a member of this extraordinary team of women who keep Mayyim Hayyim running.
That being said, I sometimes find myself feeling insecure about the work I am doing, questioning whether or not the content of my responsibilities is as useful to this organization in proportion to the meat-and-potatoes that some of my colleagues do. After all, I would love to someday co-pilot Associate Director of Education, Leeza Negelev in leading an education program. But then I think, “Relax, Leah.. You’re only 22… Everything that takes place within these walls is holy work, and you get to play a critical role in creating the experiences we read about in our guest book.”
As I sit upstairs giving myself this promotional pep-talk, I start to smile. I can hear the joyous singing in the atrium between the mikvaot, as our guests welcome a new Jew into the world. In these moments I remember the gravity of the holiness in this building. Every day I watch our guests enter and exit the building transformed. People choose to come to Mayyim Hayyim for a variety of reasons, but they always leave looking slightly different than when they came in– their faces fresher, their smiles brighter, their shoulders a little less burdened.
On other days, my moments of inspiration are less obvious.
Often times, when the Mikveh Guides worry that they may fall into the mikveh while removing the pool covers, they call me downstairs to help. In those brief, but delightful moments, I get to engage with the physical mikveh waters. You would think that taking the covers on and off couldn’t possibly evoke any emotion other than worry that I too, might fall in, but in fact, that split-second contact with the water strikes me with profound awe and gratitude for the privilege to work at Mayyim Hayyim. What might appear to be an ordinary moment is fundamentally elevated into a spiritual one.
Everyday, at unexpected times, in unexpected places, I am reminded that my place of work is a sacred space. My place of work is a community hub of healing and simcha (happiness). My place of work actively challenges me as a Jew. My place of work makes a monumental impact on the continuity of Jewish life. How many people can say that?
Leah Robbins recently graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelors in Jewish and Women’s studies. She is also a resident organizer at the Moishe Kavod House and lives with her partner Madison.