by Carrie Bornstein
I am blessed. Humbled. Honored.
I was drawn to Mayyim Hayyim since the day I learned about it. From the beginning, I knew I wanted to contribute to its success, in whatever way I could. What I did not realize, though, was the profound impact the organization would have on my life. Because of my work here, I have clarified my vision for what a Jewish community should, and can look like. Mayyim Hayyim embodies it all. It’s inclusive, beautiful, meaningful, creative, daring, reflective, adaptive.
One thing Mayyim Hayyim does particularly well is reflect upon transition, thinking about the past, pausing in the present, and looking ahead to the future.
As we navigate this organizational transition and I take on the role of Executive Director in August, I do so with gratitude, awe and a sense of great responsibility.
There is a tension in Jewish life about the relationship between yesterday and tomorrow. On the one hand, we look back on how far we are from the time Moses received the Torah. If only our real-life game of “telephone” had fewer links connecting us to the beginning, our understanding of the Torah’s teachings would be so much clearer. We lament yeridat ha-dorot – the decline of the generations – that says we are not nearly as great or learned as those who came before us.
And yet… our tradition provides us with another perspective (which I quite prefer) that we are like dwarves standing on the shoulders of giants. We acknowledge the insights of previous generations that we newer kids on the block can’t recreate. Even so, and as small as we are, if we build on past successes we can see far into the distance and accomplish great things.
Aliza Kline, at 5 feet, 2 inches tall, is my giant.
She paved the way, scaled hurdles, and made the dream a reality. Aliza also nurtured my growth, challenged me, and helped me develop into the professional I am today.
So this summer, when Aliza is back in town, I will climb up on her shoulders.
The Mayyim Hayyim staff – Lisa Berman, Jody Comins, Sherri Goldman, Leah Hart Tennen, Nina Stewart – along with our passionate and committed Board of Directors, committee members, volunteer Mikveh Guides, visionary clergy, and collective fan club of supporters near and far – all of us will build on the past to secure the future.
And I could not be more excited.
Carrie Bornstein, Acting Executive Director, holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work from Skidmore College and Boston University respectively, studied at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, and is a graduate of DeLeT (Day School Leadership through Teaching) at Brandeis. Carrie has worked at Mayyim Hayyim since 2008; prior to joining the staff, she was trained as a volunteer Mikveh Guide and Mikveh Educator. Follow her on twitter @carolinering.