Written by Carrie Bornstein
Apparently, they tell me, not all mikvehs are on Facebook. Or Twitter or YouTube. Nor do they have blogs, for that matter. So why do we? And honestly, isn’t mikveh all about privacy anyway? Is this really something we should be blasting all over the internet?
At our spring benefit this past April, Anita Diamant summed up this tension quite well:
“… mikveh is the most personal of Jewish rituals and an experience that couldn’t be more intimate or elemental. For many people, mikveh is about one body, naked and alone, submerged in a pool of water. In the mikveh, it is quiet enough to hear the beating of your own heart, a place to let go and then emerge, better prepared for what comes next.
At Mayyim Hayyim, we are mindful of this public/private contradiction. On the one hand, we are committed to opening the doors to a ritual that was once totally alien to most American Jews, and so we run classes and tours; we have a Facebook page and a blog. But at the same time, we are fiercely committed to protecting the privacy of our guests, and to providing a space so peaceful and quiet that you can hear the beating of your own heart.”
One of Mayyim Hayyim’s seven founding principles is chinuch – education. We are a gateway institution where people can deepen their understanding of Jewish thought, life, and values.
Our social media is about education, and it is also relational. If we expect you to connect with Mayyim Hayyim, then we need to engage you in the mission. This World-Wide-Interweb allows us to talk with anyone on the planet, and also to help all of you out there talk with each other about the issues of welcome, inclusivity, ritual, conversion, niddah, healing… the list goes on. And we do this in a way that also maintains our commitment to tzniyut – modesty – allowing each person to feel safe. We know this because you’ve told us so.
You’ve also told us that you love our blog. (Thanks, guys!) So you’ll be hearing more from us. We’ll continue to publish guest posts from mikveh-groupies on Wednesdays and members of our dynamic staff will post on Mondays. We hope to get to know each other even better and to take this conversation to deeper levels.
So, tell us. Why do you read a mikveh blog? What have you found meaningful? How can we expand and extend public conversations about private matters honestly and respectfully?
And by the way – if you’re fortunate enough to be in the Boston area and visiting us at 1838 Washington Street for an education program, a meeting, a look at our latest art exhibit, or yes – even for an immersion – what would you think about telling the world you’re at a mikveh and checking in on your mobile phone?
Carrie Bornstein is the Assistant Director at Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh and Education Center. She lives in Sharon, MA with her husband, Jamie, their children, Eliana and Dov, and a tank full of freshwater fish. Follow her on twitter @carolinering.