Last Sunday I had the honor of facilitating the opening of the Rising Tide Open Waters Mikveh Network, Seven Steps Mikveh Guide Training. Thirty-one Jewish people of color across four countries and in fourteen USA states registered for this eight-week experience funded by Jews of Color Initiative. Some participants are already guides and others live outside the thirty-six international Rising Tide Network mikveh locations or that the mikvaot that do exist where they are feel inaccessible. Across the diversity of spiritual practice, yearning for accessible, holistic, and celebratory Jewish learning was clear.
The universal human relationship with water is revered in many cultures for connection, purification, cleansing, transition & wisdom. During ritual immersions, physical barriers are removed between our body and the water. This series is a moment for attendees to remove mental or spiritual barriers from past experiences and deepen their relationship with Judaism and this ancient tradition. The communities where guides live can continue to support removing barriers as you welcome and celebrate these “mikveh guides as wisdom-holders and educators” attracted to this learning because they are already vibrant participants in their Jewish communities.
Program design development and implementation planning was a big job. For this community that means the world to me, it was important to create a space where every individual could bring the full-fabulousness of their beautiful selves completely into the space and learn from the course, each other, and themselves. It was worth it to read feedback confirming that 100% of participants felt a sense of belonging, 100% would recommend the program to a friend, and 92% learned something new. What I didn’t expect was how much this work for others would also feed my soul. I had the opportunity to create an opening ritual and prayer which feels bigger than the specific moment it was created for. May its words nourish our souls in ritual moments we need to hold us…
May we remember that the waters of Gan Eden still flow through our bodies and the earth,
the four rivers of Pishon, Gihon, Hidekel, and Perat.
May we allow those ancient waters to connect us to our ancestors and our first home,
lands of gold and precious resource, lands of Ethiopia, lands of Assyria.
May we use our knowledge to protect the source and follow the water to life,
with gratitude for the waters that hold us and the heavens that give us breath.