29 August 2003 -- Rosh Chodesh Elul 5763

Today, rosh chodesh Elul and erev Shabbat, we celebrated the dedication of our mikveh with our rabbis and friends! It's a beautiful morning in late summer, the sun is shining, the water is clear and warm, and we blow the shofar to awaken us to return.

In this photo, sitting left to right in a circle around the mikveh are: Shonna, Rabbi Maurice, Rabbi Yitzhak, Ari (age 1) holding the shofar, Libby, Aviva, and Aviva with baby.

The photo also shows the loveseat under the east window, and a bookshelf which holds relevant books & articles, tzedakah box, towels, and a radio/CD/tape player. On the wall are two posters: one is an Oregon waterfall; the other is a Baruch Nachshon picture "The Torah is deeper than the sea."

The mikveh is named Mayan Miriam in honor of Miriam's Well which accompanied and nurtured the Jewish people in our wanderings in the desert. The mikveh is also named in honor of the memory of our soul sister, Miriam Witkin, whose joyful songs and lovely spirit are a wellspring of blessing in the world.

We began the ceremony with a song by Miriam Witkin, "The great powers of the world are calling us together." Then we shared some deep Torah teachings about mikveh and renewal, about Elul and teshuvah, and many blessings.

This photo shows a ritual we performed as part of the dedication. Each of us dipped the netilat yadayim cup into the mikveh and drew water out of the immersion pool from near the kissing hole; then we poured the water over our hands. Everyone in the circle did this so we all participated directly in blessings with water from the mikveh. Here Aviva is pouring water over Patty's hands while others look on.

During this ritual we sang one of our community's favorite songs, "Wings of Peace" by Rabbi Aryeh Hirschfield, z"l. Words to the song:

Ufros aleynu sukkat shalom,
Spread over us wings of peace,
Draw water in joy from the living well,
Mayim chayim, waters of Life, Shalom.

Harumi & Ari, Rabbi Hanan, Shonna, and Libby.

At the end of the ceremony, we said the shehecheyanu blessing, the three rabbis present signed a document, and Rabbi Yitz blew the shofar for Elul! Then we shared light refreshments while listening to the joyful music of Reb Shlomo. What an honor to celebrate the occasion with our teachers, friends, and family. It was a beautiful mikveh dedication ceremony!

We give thanks to the Source of Life for all the goodness that we receive. We thank Reb Zalman for his advice, encouragement, and long friendship. We are especially grateful to Ian for all his efforts to bring our mikveh dreams into reality in the world.

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