In the month and a half that I have been working at Mayyim Hayyim, I have discovered many wonderful things about being a staff member here. For one, there is the vast supply of tea and chocolate (sshhh…that was supposed to be a secret) kept in our communal kitchen. There are the many opportunities to interact with our clients and volunteers, learning more about the diversity of the Jewish community through every meeting. There are my coworkers, a group of talented women who are all strongly committed to Mayyim Hayyim’s mission. And, most importantly, there is our mission.
At Mayyim Hayyim, we endeavor to have an environment where all Jews-regardless of level of observance, race, class, gender, or sexual preference-feel welcomed to engage with the ritual of mikveh in a way that feels meaningful for them. I think that our organization’s accepting attitude and desire to support the spiritual journey of all who enter our doors help to create a nurturing experience that is perhaps unlike anything that happens outside of our walls.
I feel that by working here and making the reclaiming of mikveh part of my everyday life, I have drawn closer to my own Jewish identity. The quiet, spiritual part of myself that may get hidden in the mundane hustle-and-bustle is allowed to breathe once I pass through our archway and into our inviting reception area. When I sit down at my desk, I work to connect both seasoned mikveh users and those who are new to mikveh-or to Judaism in general-with this vital ritual. I hope that as they walk through our gates, they experience an awakening of the spirit, a sense that this is a space that honors the most sacred parts of themselves, and an ability to return to their everyday lives feeling nurtured and at peace.
Nina Stewart has been working as the Administrative Assistant at Mayyim Hayyim since November 2011. She graduated from Hampshire College in 2008 and now moonlights as a student at the Simmons School of Social Work.