On Winter’s Spring

by Katherine Trakhtenbroit

I hail from a land currently crisped by drought. There are great stretches of live oak trees and loblolly pines along the bayou; when I was small they were thick with glossy leaves and pungent needles.

Now, it’s all orange and brown and parched.

So, down there, we know deeply the transformative power of water.

Confession: I have never visited Mayyim Hayyim. I have only admired it from far, far away – 1,833 miles away, to be precise. We had nothing like it in my hometown. I found myself reading everything about its mission, its layout, its unyielding commitment to inclusive hiddur mitzvah (sacred beautification of G-D’s commandment). I wanted passionately to visit, but it seemed impractical make a weekend jaunt to Boston the day before my chuppah (wedding).

Fast-forward a year. I find myself on the east coast – an alien territory, lacking in tacos and brimming with Jewish communities the likes of which I’ve never seen.  The spectrum is broader. The number of synagogues seems to match the stars. Yet, even here, the mikvaot don’t speak to me. They are halachically acceptable, true, but they simply don’t feel transformative.

Confession: I wasn’t always convinced that I wanted children. I assumed that perhaps I might want one, or two, but that they would come long after I had achieved my professional goals. The recession – and the rapid crumbling of the legal market – permanently altered my career trajectory. It also, by way of forcing me to move home for a time, allowed me to meet my bashert (person who complements the other completely).

And it’s funny how seven circles and shared wine changed not just my career, but everything. Suddenly, I want a family – desperately. I want children with his brown eyes, and I want to see him become the strong, magnificent, hilariously perfect father that I know he will be.

Confession: I know that I have no control over some things. Some things are better left to heaven. But I want to mark this shift in my life; a shift that, hopefully, will end in motherhood. To that end, I’m making a pilgrimage of sorts to Boston, come January. I am excited to see snow, and ice, and wear real coats and drink real hot chocolate. I am ecstatic about the opportunity to transform myself in the waters of Mayyim Hayyim – to welcome what will hopefully be a green, blossoming future.

Katherine is a lifelong Texan who recently relocated to the Mid-Atlantic. She graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 2009, but follows the immortal advice of Mark Twain when it comes to life – and particularly Judaism: “Never let your schooling get in the way of your education.” Katherine blogs at The Gelt.

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About mayyimhayyim

Mayyim Hayyim is a 21st century creation, a mikveh rooted in ancient tradition, reinvented to serve the Jewish community of today
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