By Stepheny Riemer, Member of Mayyim Hayyim’s Art Committee
The words “Come in Peace” and “Go in Peace,” in English and Hebrew, now appear on the archway to Mayyim Hayyim, completing the entryway to a special haven.
The signs mark a destination and an immersion experience that has the power to heighten the awareness of the moment, to lift one’s spirits, to convert from not-Jewish to Jewish, to honor celebrations, and to mark grief and sadness.
These signs welcome visitors to an educational experience about the wisdom and humanity that is Judaism. They also mark a portal to immersion in the visual arts within the gallery. To enter Mayyim Hayyim is to enter a safe and spiritual space.
Mayyim Hayyim originated from the vision of Anita Diamant who dreamed and then executed the vision of a unique, deeply meaningful community mikveh.
She dreamed of a mikveh, she wrote, “the likes of which has never been seen in Jewish history.”
And that’s what she built. Mayyim Hayyim is where men and women, religious and nonreligious, can extract themselves from the distractions of the day and focus on a personal meaning of the immersion, on themselves and the water.
Mayyim Hayyim is also unique in being graced by an art gallery. Our gallery, the first art gallery in any mikveh, has drawn hundreds of visitors who otherwise would never enter this space.
Art is what makes us human. Art blesses space and has the power to immerse the viewer visually.
Seeing art slows down the fleeting distractions of the day; it allows the viewer to seek meaning and joy and ideas from a beautiful experience.
I thank Anita for her vision. She is an inspiring leader of spirituality and of words. People are drawn to Anita for her character, her good judgment, her honesty, her wisdom, her menschlichkeit (being an all-around good person).
I conclude with a haiku:
A ritual immersion
Beautified with art
Excerpted from remarks Stepheny Riemer gave at the dedication ceremony for our new signage, which was donated in honor of Anita Diamant’s 60th birthday. Stepheny is a long-standing member of Mayyim Hayyim’s Art Committee and a fine artist in many media. Her work has been shown in our gallery.