by Lisa Berman
Mayyim Hayyim has been open for eight years now. We’re officially not a “baby” organization anymore. We don’t even feel like a start-up any longer; we have confidence and things run pretty smoothly, if we do say so ourselves. Just as kids have a big new world opened up to them when they begin to walk, talk, and socialize, organizations such as Mayyim Hayyim have challenges with continued growth and expansion when in their second stage or “mezzanine” phase.
Our Education Center is a busy place with over 110 programs led each year for 2500+ youth, adult learners, families, young professionals, and seminary students, among others. Some days it seems like we’d have to be crazy to want to get even bigger. But we do; after all, we look forward to the day when every Sisterhood, Hadassah chapter, and chaplain group in the Boston area has already been to an introductory educational program about mikveh and Mayyim Hayyim.
But how to grow optimally… new programming? New congregation connections? Unique new ways to convey how we are a visionary organization? Yes to all, of course. But one great way to generate ideas is bring in new thinkers — to convene a fantastic group of area Jewish educators and lay leaders and ask them to think creatively with us. And so… introducing… the newly formed Paula Brody & Family Education Center Advisory Committee.
I was a little anxious when I sent out the invitation to two dozen of the area’s best, brightest, and nicest Jewish educators and lay leaders. After all, everyone’s busy; who would want to be on yet another dreaded committee? But within just a few hours we had our committee. Honestly, who gets these kinds of responses when asked to be on a committee? “This sounds like a great opportunity and I would be honored to participate.” “Happy to do so”. “Count me in.” “Thank you for thinking of me. It would be my pleasure to serve.” “I would be delighted to serve on the Advisory Committee at Mayyim Hayyim!” “I am touched to be asked to join this group. It will be my pleasure to accept.” “I would love to!”
The group includes dedicated Mayyim Hayyim Board of Trustees members, superstar area educators in congregational, day school, and summer program settings, clergy from multiple denominations as well as master teachers. It’s an inspiring group, one that will have no trouble at all helping us to grow and achieve new heights of experiential education opportunities in this area and beyond. And if you’re on this committee and are reading this, here’s a little secret – you’re included not just because you’re smart and thoughtful, but perhaps most importantly because we think you are a pleasure to spend time brainstorming with. Stay tuned for the results of our June 5 inaugural gathering of the Paula Brody & Family Education Center Awesome and Enjoyable Advisory Committee. Pretzels, animals crackers, and chocolate will be on the house.
With heartfelt thanks to Joel Alter, Daniel Berman, Paula Brody, Braham David, Judy Elkin, Roz Garber Toledano, Sheila Goldberg, Wayne Goldstein, Rachel Happel, Yael Hurwitz-Lange, Debbie Kardon Schwartz, Alison Kur, Joe Reimer, Rachel Silverman, Jennifer Slifka Vidal, and Louise Treitman for their willingness to lend wit and wisdom to this cause.
Lisa Berman is the Director of the Paula Brody & Family Education Center Director at Mayyim Hayyim. She would love to hear from you if you are interested in bringing a group to learn about mikveh, if you have a great new idea for the Center, or if you would like to get involved with Mayyim Hayyim. LisaB@MayyimHayyim.org.