by Talya Sokoll, Mikveh Guide

When I first decided to become a Mikveh Guide, I was nervous. I had been to a number of immersions for friends and family that were incredibly special and meaningful.

There are many variables that go into a successful mikveh experience, but at that point, it was already clear that the Guide was responsible for making sure everything went as planned. So when I took the plunge (haha, I’m funny) and applied for the Mikveh Guide training, I was worried: Would I be able to create that experience for others? Would my nerves get the best of me? Would I be super awkward? Would my high-school-level understanding of halacha (Jewish law) be paltry in comparison to the learned Jewish women who would most certainly be part of my cohort? Would I fall into the mikveh and crack my head open?  I had a lot of fears that I now realize are a totally normal part of learning how to guide.

I walked into that first session unsure of what to expect, but what I found was completely in line with what I had already experienced: a welcoming group of people, including rabbis and mikveh educators like Lisa, Leeza, and Carrie – and a space where I would deepen my appreciation for the work that Mayyim Hayyim is doing. And since then, my experience as a Guide has been so much more than I could ever have dreamt.

I made a commitment to Mayyim Hayyim when I signed up to become a Mikveh Guide, but that is not why I keep coming back. I keep coming back because over the past year and a half, I have begun to feel more in touch with my Jewish identity than ever before. For this, I owe Mayyim Hayyim completely. The practice of mikveh, the creation of a space where all Jews feel welcome, seen, celebrated, and supported no matter who they are or why they are there, and the opportunity to take part in a tradition that has been part of Judaism for millenia is quite remarkable.

Whether it is welcoming new Jews to our community, celebrating with a family, supporting someone in pain, or the myriad of other reasons people come to immerse, when I guide, I am able to witness those magical, Jewish moments.

In these tumultuous times, when religion is so often used as a weapon, Mayyim Hayyim offers a space where Judaism is the solution – a place where, no matter who you are, how you practice, or what you need, you are welcome.

Mayyim Hayyim will be conducting its 11th Mikveh Guide Training in November 2017. Apply today!

Talya Sokoll is dedicated to being a Person of the Book. She’s a middle school and high school librarian who works to instill a love of reading in the next generation. She’s also involved in Greater Boston Jewish organizations from Mayyim Hayyim to Keshet to Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters—if it involves kids, books, or social justice, she’s there!