UPLifting Bold Leaders | Carrie Bornstein, Mayyim Hayyim

By Categories: Inspiration

Meet Carrie Bornstein, the Chief Executive Officer of Mayyim Hayyim and member of UpStart Venture Accelerator Cohort 12. Carrie is driving meaningful Jewish engagement in the local Boston Jewish community and beyond.

Mayyim Hayyim is a 21st century creation, a mikveh rooted in ancient tradition, reinvented to serve the Jewish community of today. Now, with the support of UpStart’s Venture Accelerator, they are further developing the Rising Tide Open Waters Mikveh Network. The network was launched 3 years ago and has more than 30 member communities around the world. They offer connection and engagement with a listserv, webinars and training on various related topics, a mikveh starter tool kit, and an online Mikveh Guide training for the community volunteers that make the community-run mikveh possible. Learn more about Mayyim Hayyim [here].

“The morning after the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, a woman called us. She had grown up in Pittsburgh and knew some of the individuals who were killed in the attack. She had been living in Boston for many years and knew that our mikveh existed, but had no connection to mikveh and had never been before. That morning, she felt compelled to do something, to connect with Judaism in a way that would be nourishing and supportive through her grief. She visited Mayyim Hayyim and had a deeply meaningful experience in our mikveh. She emailed me just the other day and voiced her gratitude for the opportunity and experience. She then made a donation in memory of the victims in Pittsburgh.”

“This is a time of extreme loneliness and anxiety for so many people and for so many reasons. I want the Jewish community to ease some of those feelings, to meet people’s needs for connection and comfort. But Jewish life doesn’t always feel like the respite it should. It can sometimes push people away or leave them with the sense that they have to check parts of themselves at the door.

Jewish spaces don’t have to feel this way.

The mikveh is an odd solution to this. It is not the thing we think of to solve these issues. But we’ve seen in our work that the mikveh is able to create change in a community. It is a pluralistic and supportive place. It is a place to enter just as you are, with all that you carry, and feel wholly supported and welcome. And, it is a model that can be replicated in communities across the country.”

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