by Carrie Bornstein
Today is Tu B’Av – the fifteenth day of the month of Av – a Jewish Valentine’s Day of sorts, when we mark a day of great joy on the Hebrew calendar. With our Jewish Cupid flying around (Jupid, anyone?), I’m sharing one of our sweetest stories with you, just to make you smile.
Megan came to Mayyim Hayyim for her conversion, and was lucky enough to have her mother and Israeli boyfriend, Rimon, with her. The whole thing was lovely – in the way that all conversions are lovely: Girl gets tour of mikveh with family, boy looks nervous and excited. Girl goes in to meet with beit din…
… and then boy starts plotting to propose to his girlfriend.
Mikveh Guide gasps with excitement – and joins in cahoots on the surprise. Boy goes to car to get ring – is worried girl will come out of meeting with rabbis and immediately see the jewelry box in his pocket. His cover will be blown – she’ll know right away. Finally, boy resigns to the fact that maybe girl will have other things on her mind. She comes out of the meeting and he lets his concern go.
Once Megan started preparing for her immersion, the rest of us staked out the site, looking for the perfect place for Rimon to pop the question. Megan immersed, we all sang, she dressed and emerged with that “I’m Jewish now” glow.
Leah, Megan’s Mikveh Guide, followed up with a nonchalant, “Ooh – the garden is beautiful this time of year – let’s take some picture outside!”
Rimon chose to propose to Megan on the bench created by survivors of abuse and their allies as part of our “Embracing Waters” initiative. The symbolism is not lost on me – this is what happens all the time at Mayyim Hayyim – pain can be transformed into hope and opportunities for celebration lie around every corner.
It wasn’t until later that I realized my story with Megan actually began a year prior. Referred to me through a mutual friend, Megan called with concern because she wasn’t sure how to go about moving forward with the process. After learning more about her story and her interests, I knew exactly where to send her. The week after her conversion she emailed:
“Thank you so much for pointing me towards Rabbi Avi Poupko. The conversation we had a year ago gave me hope and motivation to continue on this path at a time when I had almost given up. There were a few people that made my conversion happen and you are one of them! I will forever be grateful.”
Boy, am I ever grateful too.
Carrie Bornstein is Mayyim Hayyim’s Executive Director. She celebrated her own wedding anniversary just yesterday, and seems to have accidentally wore red pants to coincide with Tu B’Av today.