Last Sunday, I had a glimpse into one of the many amazing programs that happen here at Mayyim Hayyim, when my younger daughter came with her Rosh Hodesh, It’s a Girl Thing group to the mikveh.
My daughter, Elizabeth, and the other girls in the group are from the Metrowest area and are in the 6th grade. Ours is a “neighborhood group” because it’s made up of girls from different towns, different schools, and different Jewish backgrounds. Some of the girls belong to synagogues, some don’t. Some of the girls went to Jewish Day School, some didn’t. Some have two Jewish parents, some don’t. Some have a parent who converted, some don’t.
You get where I’m going with this? It was just a bunch of Jewish girls who came to learn about ritual at the mikveh. And they had a great time!
I wasn’t allowed to be a fly on the wall during most of the program, as that time was meant for just the girls, but I did get to participate with other moms during the last half hour. Lisa Berman, our wonderful Director of Education, had the girls gather in the mikveh area to lead the moms in an exercise. (You heard Lisa’s being honored at our upcoming event, The Ripple Effect: Mayyim Hayyim’s First Ten Years, right?)
The girls had clipboards with questions about the mikveh. This exercise is designed so that they can teach their parents what they learned. Elizabeth said to me, “Mommy, how can I teach you anything about the mikveh? You work here!” I told her that she could teach me what she had learned.
It was so much fun to run around the mikveh area with Elizabeth and her friend and watch them read the questions, think about where to go to find the answer, and then confer on what they thought the answers were. Elizabeth was right at home when she took the remote control off the wall and turned the colored lights on in the mikveh. I loved seeing her in this environment and engaged in the learning together with her friends.
Elizabeth has been to Mayyim Hayyim a few times already; when my older daughter immersed before her Bat Mitzvah and on days off from school, but never as a participant in a program. She was so excited to be here and I’m so glad she had the opportunity. She already told everyone in her Rosh Hodesh group that she is immersing before her Bat Mitzvah next May and now that they all were here, many of them are asking their parents if they can come too.
Sunday was an example of a whole new generation of young, empowered, Jewish girls who can do whatever they want and that includes immersing in a mikveh before their Bat Mitzvah. (I feel old having just written that last sentence and maybe even want to sing a line from Free to be You and Me.)
Jody Comins is the Development and Events Coordinator for Mayyim Hayyim. She is busy working on our upcoming event, May 29 and wants to remind you to buy your tickets. She is also starting to plan Elizabeth’s Bat Mitzvah for May 2015.