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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

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.