by Molly Kazan, Development Manager

We’re really into water and its whole shtick over here.  

We exist because of water. We know all about its properties, we cherish its power, and we revel in its potential. Closing our doors this month because of water damage has been such a blow to our hearts.   

The bright spot has been the generosity of our community. A Mikveh Guide led a Zoom handwashing ceremony for a guest who needed to immerse before a fertility medical procedure. Family, friends, colleagues, clergy, and beyond have reached out to ask what we need. So we launched a fundraiser to help defray the cost of repairs and lost income from our closure.  

Over 360 people heard about what happened to our building and donated. All within two weeks.  

This outpouring of support helps us feel secure in our ability to meet the challenges ahead. It allows our leadership to stay focused on the most important tasks at hand — not only repairing the building but enabling us to fulfill our mission as a source of healing, comfort, and celebration in the Jewish community. 

Our mission to reclaim and reinvent one of Judaism’s most ancient rituals resonates with the community in many ways. Check out what several folks have shared about the impact of our closure:  

Interim Program Manager, Aki Yonekawa, wrote to our Mikveh Guides the week of the damage: 

“The variety of ways in which water presents itself in this job is impressively varied. I came to work at Mayyim Hayyim because of the healing nature of the waters of the mikveh, because of the gentle way that it holds people as they move through the events of life. And yet… in the past six months, water has escaped when we wanted it to stay put, frantically spewed all over the basement when I was alone in the building, rained down from the HVAC system, leaked in through the windows and out through the bor valve. It has buckled the wood, cracked the plaster, and rippled the paint. And now this.  

If nothing else, I can say that water is powerful! I sometimes say that mikveh provides punctuation for the story of your life. I think our mikveh has offered us an exclamation mark this week!” 

Here’s what one recent donor had to say about his connection to mikveh:  

“I was just talking to a friend this afternoon who knows that mikveh isn’t particularly meaningful to me personally but also knows I make occasional donations to Mayyim Hayyim. My friend asked why I donate to an organization whose purpose isn’t a high priority for me, and I explained that mikveh may not be a top priority for me, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important to my community, and that’s not all Mayyim Hayyim is anyway.  

In many ways, you’re my favorite kind of Jewish organization — you serve everyone, promote pluralism, make multiple aspects of Judaism accessible in ways that not many others understand to be necessary but you’re also working with other organizations to help them do the same, and I can trust that every penny I donate will be put to good use, and all of those things are top priorities to me.”  

Our partners across the street at the new Hebrew College/Temple Reyim campus have welcomed our staff with workspace, free wifi, and bagels. In the words of one of these new colleagues:  

“What is the water equivalent of a phoenix rising from the ashes? We will soon find out from all of you!”  

For now, Mayyim Hayyim still remains closed to the public. The good news is it is now safe for our Boston-based staff to return to work at the building. Meanwhile, we are working to identify the extent of repairs and renovations that will need to be done before we can welcome guests back into our space.  

We are taking things one step at a time as we work to rebuild and restore. Thank you for being a part of what makes Mayyim Hayyim so special.  

Want to share what Mayyim Hayyim means to you? Email our Development Manager, Molly, at mollyk@mayyimhayyim.org for a chance to be featured on an upcoming blog post and help spread the impact of open mikveh.   

Molly Kazan is Mayyim Hayyim’s Development Manager. After a tour with her graduate school cohort, Molly was inspired by Mayyim Hayyim’s mission and how it aligns with her passion for building communities and relationships. When she isn’t implementing Mayyim Hayyim’s fundraising strategy, Molly can be found drinking chai tea, preferably on a yoga mat near a body of water.