Zooming in on the Women Upstairs

by Leah Robbins, Administrative and Marketing Assistant

I am coming up on my one year work-aversary at Mayyim Hayyim (hooray!). I could easily spout off one of my broken-record-speeches about the sacredness of this space, how it continues to turn Jewish life on its head, and fundamentally transform the lives of those who walk through its doors. But I want to talk about the ladies upstairs, the ones who make your celebrations, your healing, your memories, possible.

Of course, you and I aren’t strangers to working women everywhere, masterful ringleaders of career, family, and incomprehensible selflessness. But this group of gals…they’re otherworldly. Luckily for me, I am a 23 year-old, unmarried girl, with only two formal responsibilities: showing up to Mayyim Hayyim and showing up for myself. So I get to play a sort of innocent-but-nevertheless-voyeuristic observer of these miraculous Jewish women and bear witness to their individual sacrifices for Mayyim Hayyim…for us, for you.

So, with their permission, I’m going to share with you a little bit about the bad-ass women at your neighborhood mikveh:

Rachel Eisen, Director of Annual Giving
In addition to year-round fundraising for our tiny niche of the Boston Jewish community (I am sure many of you in the Jewish nonprofit world can sigh in empathy), Rachel is the key visionary for all of the communications put forth by Mayyim Hayyim. She runs our beautiful art gallery, and she so beautifully brought to life our spring benefit, Soul/Life/Cycle – getting honorees, securing the venue, invitations, logo and graphics, marketing, schedule, program, guest musical performer, food and beverage, program book…the list was endless.

Did I mention she is in the middle of planning her own wedding?

Lori Kramer, Office Manager
In addition to maintaining the grounds of Mayyim Hayyim, to ensure our pools are ideal for your immersions, keeping the lights on, coordinating with vendors, and processing all of your generous gifts, Lori is a mother of a gaggle of children who have school and activities in five (or more) different towns… She commutes two hours each way from Woonsocket, RI to Mayyim Hayyim every single day. And when she is not running the show at Mayyim Hayyim, and mothering a flock of kids, she spends weekends helping run her family’s ice cream and cake shop.

Did I mention she manages this with a broken, sprained, or fractured bone every single week?

Leeza Negelev, Associate Director of Education
In addition to creating thought-provoking education programs about the who, what, when, where, and why of mikveh, Leeza is one of the main representatives of this sacred ritual for all of Boston’s Jewish youth. It is through her efforts, her Torah knowledge, and her enthusiasm that Jewish children and their families are making space in their Jewish lives to understand this ancient ritual and weave it through their spiritual practice. This is an enormous responsibility on her shoulders, one she carries with such poise.

Did I mention she serves as a devoted caregiver and primary medical liaison for her elderly, sick, Russian-only-speaking aunt?

Lisa Berman, Mikveh and Education Director
In addition to her steady devotion to Mayyim Hayyim over the past 13 years, and her strategic vision for the education center, we have Lisa to thank for every single detail of the immersion experience – from chaotic scheduling (you should see her inbox), to training and working with our beloved Mikveh Guides, to speaking so thoughtfully with our immersees about intimate, delicate issues, to driving the creative process for beautiful immersion ceremonies, to your individual immersion experience under the water.

Did I mention that (despite our pleading otherwise) Lisa makes herself available for mikveh emergencies, 24/7/365? Believe it or not, she really doesn’t live here!

Carrie Bornstein, Executive Director
In addition to fundraising for deeply meaningful projects that shape local Jewish life and spearheading a gargantuan effort to create a national network of like-minded mikva’ot, Carrie leads this organization with thoughtfulness, meticulousness, and intentionality, allowing Jews to give themselves permission to let mikveh in – to open the door just wide enough to reconsider mikveh as relevant, meaningful, and an irreplaceable part of our tradition.

Did I mention she’s currently carrying a baby for another Jewish couple in London?

Leah Robbins, Administrative and Marketing Assistant
Me? Humbled, inspired, and deeply, deeply grateful.




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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One Response to Zooming in on the Women Upstairs

  1. Kim Robbins says:

    Always on it!!! 👍👍👌

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