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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.