by Lisa Berman, Mikveh and Education Director
Mikveh Guides: The Face of Mayyim Hayyim
These women and these men have much to teach,
But their pleasure is to learn and serve,
Stepping forward or stepping back,
Attending to the need, joyful or tearful,
Face to face.
More than 13 years ago, a few passionate volunteers and staff created one of Mayyim Hayyim’s most unique characteristics: the role of the Mikveh Guide. Originally intended to be called madrichim, this moniker was soon dropped for the more accessible title “Guides.” Their uniqueness lay in their diversity, their roles as educators and mikveh attendants, and their instruction to place at the forefront of each guest’s experience the choice to engage with the ritual in the way that was most meaningful to each guest.
Our Guides go through a rigorous selection and training process, and we’re so very proud of the 177 who have completed the learning process. Nearly 70 of them are still active and involved, greeting and supporting our guests each day.
This fall we will select and train our 11th cohort of Guides; this is a process that we take on only every other year. We are actively seeking applicants for this unique and meaning-filled volunteer opportunity – applicants from all walks of Jewish life, all ages, gender expressions, and backgrounds. In diversity is our strength. If you or someone you know would like to know more about the role and process of becoming a Guide, we would love to hear from you (see below for contact information).
Our Guides are the proud recipients of our guests’ praise, (confidentially, of course). Enjoy reading these beautiful testimonies, and consider applying to join the ranks of Boston- area’s most interesting and fulfilling volunteer positions: A Mikveh Guide at Mayyim Hayyim.
From our guests:
“The Guide was incredibly respectful, supportive, and comforting. The first words she greeted me with on the phone were, “How can I be helpful?” That was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment.”
“My Mikveh Guide was wonderful! I really appreciated hearing his enthusiastic “Kasher!” after each immersion. My simcha (joyous celebration) would not have been the same without an immersion at Mayyim Hayyim.”
“The Guide was supportive of my having my own experience and difficult feelings at this time by being thoughtful and not intrusive. It was just what I needed.”
“I could not have asked for a better, more respectful experience. The Guide explained everything, answered questions, supported me, and gave me space. It was my first time and I was very slow in reading the prayers; I appreciate how patient and kind the Guide was.”
“Our Guide was fabulous and really made our visit and immersion as a family so special and true to who we are as a family.”
“Our Guide helped our experience to be incredibly meaningful, and whole, and safe. I can’t say enough about him; he more than enriched our experience. He had the perfect balance of support and space.”
“My Guide was absolutely fabulous. I was a nervous wreck and her calm demeanor was very soothing and confidence building. She even took pictures for us!”
“The Mikveh Guide who helped me was very welcoming and helpful. She made the experience very easy and accessible. She helped me and my mom understand the process for the mikveh and helped us with the guide for prayers for a bride’s immersion. She helped make it a great experience!”
“Even her voice was warm and welcoming. She made me at ease. My immersion was a wonderful experience I will never forget. I plan to visit Mayyim Hayyim again at important times in my life.”
Theirs is the art of tzimtzum, of making way.
He will seal your prayers with amen.
She will whisper kasher and it is to.
Their words and intentions are kadosh,
As your words and intetions are holy.
Face to face.
God-given and God-met.
Panim el panim