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Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh and Education

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Judaism, Religion, Religion-Related

Mission: Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh and Education Center, Inc. (Mayyim Hayyim) is a non-profit organization, founded in the spring of 2001.  The mission of Mayyim Hayyim is to reclaim and reinvent one of our most ancient Jewish rituals “immersion in the mikveh” for contemporary spiritual uses and to make this new, sacred space open and accessible to all Jews in the Greater Boston area.

Results: Since our opening in 2004, we have provided more than 6,600 immersions (there were 1,400 immersions last year), including more than 1,200 conversions. This year our Education Center hosted 87 programs for 1,525 people, including religious school kids, teens, college students and adults.  Hundreds of people have celebrated weddings and b’nei mitzvah, converted to Judaism with dignity and honor, found solace in the face of illness and trauma, and explored the ritual of monthly immersion. Mayyim Hayyim has hosted training and information sessions for communities around the world looking to establish local mikvaot and educate their communities. Mayyim Hayyim is a threshold into Jewish life—a place where the spiritually diverse needs of 21st century Jews are met by reclaiming the ancient tradition of immersing in the mikveh.

Community Stories

49 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayyim Hayyim is an inspirational organization. Volunteers make this place sing and the professional staff values the work that the volunteers do day in and day out. If innovation in Jewish life is important to you , check out Mayyim Hayyim.

13

Client Served

Rating: 4

Very meaningful experience. Guide was excellent. Facilities are top-notch and exceed expectations. Only downside: suggested donation was a bit high.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

It was beautiful Even tho one of the mikveh was out of order, my wife and I had a truly spiritual experience I especially enjoyed and felt comfortable working with Sidney who I have since seen and thanked I hope to make stronger bonds with myself, my wife, and the community through this experience Thank you!

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

About 4 years ago I attended the National Mikveh Conference sponsored by Mayyim Hayyim. At that time I was only interested in mikveh as an element in the Jewish conversion process. My visit to Mayyim Hayyim opened up an awareness of the full potential of mikveh to express Jewish spirituality at a wide range of transistion points in a person's life. I have been working ever since then to duplicate in Los Angeles a similar 21st Century mikveh. The people at Mayyim Hayyim are of extra-ordinary sensitivity and creativity in their penetrating ability with Jewish water ceremonies. I have learned a great deal from them.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Mayyim Hayyim provides a beautiful place for me to carry out, what could be an uncomfortable Jewish ritual. But my experience at Mayyim Hayyim has never been uncomfortable. It is easy for me to make an immersion appointment, my guides there are always so helpful, respectful and discreet. The few times that I have had to use a mikvah when I was not at home in Boston, I sorely missed Mayyim Hayyim- and it also made me realize how lucky I am to live in Boston with access to Mayyim Hayyim- a progressive place that cares about Jewish values and tradition and above all people.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayyim Hayyim is one of the most sacred and beautiful places in Massachusetts. I went there to immerse when I converted to Judaism, the day before I was married, and to honor every one of my birthdays. This place is spiritual and special and when I am there I feel closer to God. Going down those seven steps and into the water is like coming home. I am honored to be able to use the mikveh and to be a guide there as well.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In Sept. of this year prior to Rosh Hashanah I was guiding as a young woman (under 21) came to the Mikveh with her father who was very supportive of her experience. She was very reserved about her experience and appreciated that I could be just a resouce for her and not intrusive in her immersion experience. She was gratefull that I did not inssit that I watch her immersion and that I was able to give her the information that she needed and not be intrusive.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

A unique experience. After going through 5 years of a contentious divorce I wanted to cleanse myself from the past and prepare to start a new chapter. Mayyim Hayyim was the perfect place. In the serene environment of the Mikveh it felt comfortable to immerse myself into the old traditions and have a meaningful spiritual experience. Later, in another part of the beautiful building, we combined traditional and modern ways to celebrate the milestone with family and friends. Now, 5 years hence, I continue to remember this day as exceptionally significant and empowering.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

as a mikvah guide, I have had the priveledge and honor to guide so many women and children as they engage in this most personal and intimate process. Sharing this moment with others is important to me becasue it allows me to be part of and apart from at the same time. For each person who immerses in these sacred waters, the reasons vary but the emotional experience is equal impact, meaning and transformative value. What a gift to share!

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

They make mikvah use comfortable for a first-timer. The space is beautiful. I didn't appreciate how great the space is until I was traveling and needed to use another mikvah. The mikvah guides give you as much privacy as you want and are happy to help, even with unusual requests. Aliza Kline, the director, does a great job of explaining mikvah use and design and its role in Jewish life.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

I celebrated with friends and family the completion of my cancer treatment, 5 years ago when Mayyim Hayyim was quite new. I watched as it progressed over the years, immersing to mark special moments in my life, viewing amazing art shows and attending inspiring lectures, and participating in writing a spiritual guide for Jewish women with cancer. The outreach and effect on the wider community is wonderful.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

An extraordinary place. Mayyim Hayyim is a place where transformation occurs. I was present when my soon-to-be daughter-in-law immersed in the water, her final step to become a Jew. Her non-Jewish parents were present as was I and my husband and our son. Her parents felt the emotion of having their daughter leave them in a very real way, yet be welcomed to a new life in a loving and beautiful place in a most spiritual way. Mayyim Hayyim is a gift to our community.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Warm and inviting atmosphere. Lovely staff. Total spiritual experience. Community is lucky to have such a beautiful mikveh in the neighborhood.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a rabbi who works extensively with converts, it is a joy and privilege to bring candidates to the warmth, beauty and deep sense of holiness of Mayyim Hayyim. The very facility is warm and inviting and the staff welcomes with great joy and awe every new Jew along with his or her family. What a welcome to the Jewish community!

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a Conservative Rabbi I was excited to be in on the "ground floor" of planning for a true community-wide Mikve. I had participated in Batei Din for conversion at an Orthodox Mivke in the Boston area, and I found the experience as less than satisfying and inspiring. I was in a meeting which included the certifying Rabbi Ben Zion Bergman from LA. I attended meetings with the architect and designer of the facility which promised to be a welcome and inspiring place. With the opening of the Mikve and the filling of the Borot I felt that Boston community had achieved a goal. Since that time I continue to serve on Batei Din and the impact of Mayyim Hayyim is felt on every occasion.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Mayyim Hayyim has had a remarkable impact in the spiritual life of the Greater Boston Jewish community. a) It has provided an opportuniy for Jews to return to a significant element of Jewish spiritual practice (Mikveh) who would otherwise have not considered it as meaningful and attractive. b)It has become a center for the discovery of new modes of Jewish spiritual expression that go beyond the forms of traditional rituals in their strictly legal norms. c)This has demonstrated that Judaism has a dynamic plasticity that can meet new needs and challeges of life and lifecycle events and concerns. d) Mayyim Hayyim has become a prime example for many other Jewish communities of how a traditional institution can reach beyond itself while maintaining halachic norms. As a Rabbi, I find it amazing how the staff and volunteers of Mayyim Hayyim have made it so welcoming to those Jews who otherwise would not be attracted to it. It serves the community as the locus for conversion rituals with a warm and hospitable setting for the meeting of Batei Din (Rabbinic Courts, but also a note above, it represents the dynamic potential of other elements of Jewish rituals to enrich the personal lives of individuals.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is the most amazing Mikveh! It was a beautiful peaceful experience. If only there was a Mayyim Hayyim in the NJ/NY area!!! The online help is wonderful. Truly, a mikveh experience for women who are not orthodox Jews is something that is incredibly wonderful. Mayyim Hayyim is trying to open the experience to more people. Good luck to them!

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

I studied Judaism and was active in a Eitz Chayim synagogue, (Cambridge MA,) for over 3 years. My Rabbi, Liza Stern arranged for a Beit Din (at which she was not present), but her husband, the Rabbi Stern with a few members of EC were present in the Beit Din, it accepted me. This Beit Din was done in one of the rooms in Mayyim Hayyim, that ambiance gave me more self-confidence in my Jewish beliefs. It seemed more talking in a social meeting than taking a test. Ritual immersion is an ancient part of Jewish tradition, highlighted in the Torah, when the Kohen went into the Holy place of the Tabernacle, when Kings asked for healing, and so on. At Mayyim Hayyim, I am welcome to immerse to commemorate a wide variety of transitions and occasions. The mikveh pool, in Mayyim Hayyim, recalls the watery state that each of us knew before we were born; It goes with that idea, so I always find a mikveh pool clean, warm, as my mother had me for 9 months, giving that kind of nourishment I need to go forward in my Jewish journey.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayyim Hayyim is one of the most innovative Jewish organizations in the world. It has successfully taken the ritual of mikveh and made it relevant to the 21st century. This miraculous transformation has been done within the parameters of Jewish law, making it a destination for all Jews. There is truly nothing else like Mayyim Hayyim in the Jewish world. Not only does it enable women to fulfill the family purity laws in a beautiful, safe environment, it is also a place where men and women come to renew themselves spiritually and to heal from physical and emotional upheaval in their lives. The upheaval can range from finishing a course of chemotherapy, completing 11 months of Kaddish or healing from a traumatic relationship. Mayyim Hayyim is truly of service to the entire spectrum of the Jewish community.

9

Donor

Rating: 5

TO PARTICIPATE IN THE EARLY STAGES OF THE MIKVEH LEARNING CENTER WAS A GIFT TO MYSELF.... NEW RITUALS FOR AN OLD RITUAL ....A DREAM COME TRUE.AND RETELLING IT TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS KEEPS IT "VIBRATING" IN MY SOUL...ROSE MASS

9

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

An amazing resource for our community - both the mikveh and the educational center. As a rabbi in the area, I have led countless people to the mikveh for conversions, healing after miscarriage or illness, wedding blessings, and many other transitional moments. They also offer local clergy the benefit of an immersion in the mikveh before the High Holidays - what a gift!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

My experience was unforgetable for both myself and my family. Mayyim Hayyim was extremely welcoming to my family and made our time there very meaningful for all of us!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

This was my first visit to a Mikva, and it was wonderful, spiritual and something I want to do again. It definitely enhances the spirituality of my practice of Judaism.

3

Client Served

Rating: 4

Mayyim Hayyim provided a spiritual experience at a time when I most needed it. I went in search of inner peace and most definitely found what I was looking for. The staff was deeply sensitive to my needs and privacy and ensured that I could personalize the experience to suit my situation. The facilities and ambiance were clean and calming. I absolutely recommend Mayyim Hayyim to others and look forward to returning in the near future!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I thoroughly enjoyed my Mikvah experience at Mayyim Hayyim last spring before my Bat Mitzvah. The atmosphere was spiritual and soothing.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Welcoming, reassuring, gentle, kind. The guide showing,and helping me at the mikveh facilities prior to and during my affirmation ceremony was all of that and more. The location is easy to find, the building is quiet and tastefully designed, and the pool clean, warm, and private. Having my ceremony at Mayyim Hayyim was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, never to be forgotten.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

I go to Mayyim Hayyim every week to mark the transition to Shabbat, and have also gone in preparation for my wedding and after my father died. the space is beautiful, warm, and serene. the staff and volunteers are friendly, knowledgeable, and go out of their way to make my visits wonderful. even though I go every week, the visits are not routine - each week is different and special.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This place has been a huge part of my life for some years. In it, I have learned about the power of ritual, the vitality and diversity of the Jewish community. It has opened my heart.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experiences at Mayyim Hayyim include being a volunteer Mikveh Guide as well as a user of the facility. First, as a mikveh guide, I feel completely supported and most importantly, appreciated. The staff is extraordinarily committed to this wonderful place and it is an honor to be a part of it. We are continually provided with educational training and supported in the work that we do. It feels great to be part of such a team, providing a space to ritually transform lives. As someone who has immersed at Mayyim Hayyim for special moments of celebration and transition, I can say that the facility is extraordinary in its welcome and amazing at providing just the right words at just the right time. When I wanted to transition before my son's wedding, I found just the right "mother of the groom" ceremony to allow me to focus on my changing role and relationship with my son. I was able to acknowledge the change, the loss, and think deeply about my hopes and open myself to new possibilities.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Mayyim Hayyim is a unique institution in the Jewish community helping women to reclaim a ritual and a ritual space that was virtually unknown by our mothers and maligned by our grandmothers. My experience there is that it is a holy space where people's lives change and deepen. The new rituals that have been developed there are especially helpful. As a rabbi, I have brought people there for conversion, before their weddings, before cancer treatment, after miscarriage and on their way home from a stay in the mental health unit of a nearby hospital. There are many life cycle events beyond birth and death and Mayyim Hayyim helps us to mark these events with awe and dignity. It brings peace to all who seek it in the warm waters and compassionate surroundings.

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

I went to Mayyim Hayyim immediately after dropping off my youngest daughter at college. I wanted to mark this major life transition (hers and mine) spiritually by immersing in a mikvah, a ritual bath. As I descended the steps into the warm bath, my tears met the clear, embracing waters. I felt held by the waters, by the holiness of the space, by the richness of tradition. I took my time, supported by the folks who run Mayyim Hayyim and create such a welcoming spaciousness, both temporally and aesthetically.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

initially thinking this facility "wouldn't be for me," i was amazed how moved and impressed i was when first introduced. I starting getting more and more involved, and consequently now am not only a board member, but for more than a year now, i am a volunteer mikveh guide during a regular time slot every week. And every week there is something special, and some way where i know i have made a difference for someone coming to immerse, or just visit, and learn about Mayyim Hayyim. At MH, i am exposed to a wide variety of modern Judaism, not just the branch i am affiliated with. I help with, and share in, very personal experiences for individuals and families as they undergo both painful and joyous times in their lives. I often get quite a warm hug with a grateful thank you as they leave, which is a big honor. I also get heartfelt thanks from rabbis whose congregants i have assisted with. It's wonderful to see a person coming to convert start out so nervous, and emerge after their immersion relaxed and beaming. MH is a gentle, caring, respectful, spiritual place to volunteer and it's a privilege for me.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I did an immersion at Mayyim Hayyim as I started graduate school. It had been a complicated and emotional year and I just wanted to mark the end of that and the beginning of something new. It was beautiful, calm, relaxing and the immersion was incredibly powerful. Also, as someone who had never been to a Mikveh before, the attendant was kind and supportive and willing to explain each thing step by step. Overall, a great experience.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

What an amazing organization! More than a mikveh -- truly an educational center - and the nicest, most welcoming and spiriutally appealing mikveh I have ever experienced.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I came to Mayyim Hayyim before my wedding. It was wonderful! I had never been to the mikvah before and had just the most positive, calming, beautiful experience there. My mother, sister and mother-in-law, also felt so comfortable and were able to have all of their questions answered by our wonderful guide. The educational information was so helpful and thorough and the whol experience was just perfect!

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a rabbi, I have served as witness and convener for conversion immersions at Mayyim Hayyim on numerous occasion. The ambience, staff friendliness and competence, availability and physical structure are an order of magnitude better than any other mikveh in my experience in a forty year career. This is a welcoming and supportive environment both for those who are new to Judaism and for those who, for either traditional or creative reasons, seek immersion in a mikveh. I also used the mikveh myself as a "havdalah" between my active career and my retirement. It was an unalloyedly positive experience.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Before my Adult Bat Mitzvah (at 65) in March I had my first Mikveh at Mayyim Hayyim. It was a fabulous experience. The women at the desk were wonderful - very caring. I was there with another member of my group, and our Cantor - a woman - came as well with her guitar. As each of the two of us were in the Mikveh the other two were in the atrium area and we all sang together. It was a very spiritual experience - especially in the beautiful setting at Mayyim Hayyim.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I shared a special moment with my daughter prior to her wedding. We both participated in the immersion and read beautiful passages written for the mother and the bride. I thought the words were so moving and important that I incorporated the message in my speech to the couple at the wedding. Thank you, Susan Waisbren

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I came up to Boston from Florida for a wedding, and added an extra day to visit Mayyim Hayyim. I had never used a mikveh before, and it certainly was not part of my religious upbringing but heard about Mayyim Hayyim from a friend, and checked it out on-line. I had much stress in my life at the time and was ready for something to cleanse my soul. The calming effect of the whole experience was just what I needed. The immersion in the mikveh acted as a ritual of passage - from a time of negative thoughts into a new period that somehow opened my soul. I have never had a more meaningful spiritual connection to my faith. Thank you for all you do.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A friend was struggling with turning 'a certain age' and not having achieved all the milestones she had dreamed of by that time. I offered to make her a ritual at Mayyim Hayyim where she could celebrate with all the women in her life the love and support she could count on from us, and to immerse in the mikveh privately and dwell in the healing, contemplative waters and make peace with where she is in her life. The staff at Mayyim Hayyim couldn't have been more supportive of my efforts and provided prayers for my friend to use in her immersion. However, they let me do everything I wanted to do in the 'living room' (which also doubles as a lecture room for education events at other times) which included a pot luck lunch, an opportunity for each of the 14 or so attendees to present our friend with a blessing and/or poem or object to symbolize their wishes for her on her journey. We brought in our own music, food and festive attire. For several women, this was their first visit to Mayyim Hayyim, so the volunteer mikveh guide offered a tour while our friend was immersing in the mikveh. Our friend was overwhelmed with happiness to have so many people from different parts of her life, including her mother and friends old and new, in one place. She enjoyed her private immersion. The mikveh guide even used her jumper cables to start my friends car, because she had left the lights on in the parking lot in her eager anticipation of the ritual when she arrived. Talk about a full service non-profit! In addition to the wonderful support I received in planning this ritual, I have also enjoyed meaningful learning opportunities with outstanding teachers at the Mayyim Hayyim Family Education Center. Just yesterday, a stressful day when I was confronting issues with aging family members, I arrived at Mayyim Hayyim for a study session and immediately felt relaxed and calm, just walking into the doors of the beautiful center, where I was warmly welcomed, things were clean, bright and home-like. I could have easily enjoyed just sitting there for 90 minutes, but the learning was so stimulating, I was a different person than the frazzled one who had entered only an hour and a half earlier. Thank you, Mayyim Hayyim, for creating a space where women and men can gather to learn and celebrate life's mysteries and transitions.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer mikveh guide since Mayyim Hayyim opened its doors more than five years ago, I've found the experience extraordinary. Witnessing immersions of all sorts has elicited the best in me. I'm my most caring, sensitive self at the mikveh.It's been a privilege to serve in this holy place.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a Mikveh volunteer and tour guide, I have been blessed by assisting women in fullfilling the reason why their spiritual path has led them to Mayyim Hayyim. I have been at Mayyim Hayyim for over 5 years and truly belive that G-d resides within our walls and hears prayers... From one end of the building to the other... this is truly a holy space.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a Cantor and the head of a Rosh Chodesh women's group, I have brought about 30 women to Mayyim Chayyim as part of an educational trip on mikvah. My goal was to share the idea of mikvah as a source of spiritual renewal and "rebirth," particularly after life-changing events. The women who came with me found this beautiful venue to be a peaceful, soothing place and several expressed a sense of profound spiritual growth after immersion. Our group including several widows, recently divorced women, cancer survivors, and a new mother. All found Mayyim Chayyim a place of refuge and renewal. As a spiritual leader, I am grateful to Mayyim Chayyim for offering us this opportunity.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Mayyim Hayyim provided a spiritual and renewing experience at a key time in my life. The staff welcomed and accompanied me in an understanding, sensitive and non-intrusive way. I left feeling strengthened and joyful - and thankful that Mayyim Hayyim is there to answer this most personal and spiritual need. Hazzan Iris Beth Weiner, Jerusalem

3

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience volunteering at Mayyim Hayyim has been a transformationalexperience in my life. Way back, before construction was even completed at Mayyim Hayyim, I joined a number of other women studying to be in the first cohort of Mikveh Guides. The experience of bonding with this incredible group of women was for me, a business woman, inspirational. When it was time for Mayyim Hayyim to open and actually begin receiving visitors to immerse there was truly a thrill in my heart. Mayyim Hayyim, and the devoted women and men who serve there, have not only successfully continued an ancient tradition but also given the Jews in our Greater Boston community an opportunity to develop ways to give new meaning to an old tradition, thus revitalizing the concept of using living water for spiritual cleansing and healing. Moreover, the art gallery and meeting space has allowed the Education Center to bring Jews together in a beautiful, new venue.

3 Sidney Davis

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience at Mayyim Hayyim has been for me the performance of a sacred mitzvah. It has been a great blessing to guide those who have come to immerse in its waters for healing, cleansing and renewal. I have found each guiding experience to be special and unique. I am always reminded when I walk through its doors and as I prepare for my service the words of Rabbi Akiba: Happy are you, O Israel! Before whom are you purified? Who purifies you? Your father which is in heaven. As it is said, "I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean" (Ezek. 36:25). And it says, "The mikveh of Israel is the Lord" (Jer. 17:13). Just as the mikveh cleans unclean people, so the Holy One cleans Israel. Yoma 85b

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wherever I have lived, I have volunteered for a women's organization. When I moved to the Boston area, though, I couldn't find that place. Then one night, a friend invited me to a tour of the new mikveh, sponsored by her congregation. I knew when I walked in that this is where I wanted to be. It has been, and continues to be,a privilege to be a volunteer at Mayyim Hayyim. And I continue to thank my friend who invited me on the tour four years ago.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer at many organizations for many years, including Girl Scouts, congregations, soup kitchens, refugee organizations, political action organizations and others. My experience at Mayyim Hayyim has been like no other. From the moment I walked in the door, I have felt welcome. The training materials and methodologies developed and shared are top notch, well thought out, and compelling. The ongoing training provided to mikveh guides have been informative, relevent and timely. The committment to making this an inviting, welcoming and nurturing place is evident from the moment you walk through the gate into the garden, before a client even walks through the door. People are free to express their Judaism, to become Jews, to heal, to mourn, to celebrate in ways that are meaningful to them. There is no other place quite like Mayyim Hayyim.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Before there was even a building, Mayyim Hayyim was a dream, a dream of a community that was welcoming and inclusive, a dream of an organization that was committed to innovation and learning. I have been privileged to be part of this dream; trained in the first cohort of mikveh guides for the past four years I have been privileged to witness countless immersins, to be part of a learning community and make meaningful contributions to our community on a regular basis. Thank you Mayyim Hayyim!