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Rabbi Emily Hyatt on MOED: The Mikvah of East Denver

11/03/2021 02:01:01 PM

Nov3

*Exciting Update: As we have worked to get out the word about MOED, we received an incredible gift: an incredibly generous donor has agreed to a $50,000 match between now and Thanksgiving! That means every dollar we raise this month will be doubled, and we can work together to finish building our new mikvah. Read the letter from Rabbi Hyatt below, and make a donation!

Friends,
 
An exciting update about our East Denver Jewish Community: we are almost done building MOED – the Mikvah of East Denver – which is in the final stages of construction on the corner of Alameda and Leyden. A mikvah, or Jewish ritual bath, is a very special place in a Jewish community where individuals can go for moments of spiritual reflection, transformation and meaning.

We believe that MOED is the first mikvah of its kind – both an orthodox mikvah that is designed and operated according to strict Jewish legal requirements, and an intentionally pluralistic mikvah, designed and operated with the entire Jewish community in mind – and I’ve been lucky enough to help imagine it. As a partner in the work, I’ve sat with blueprints, picked out tile, served on committees, taught community classes, preached, fundraised, brainstormed and dreamed with a diverse and beautiful group of people as our mikvah has come to life. 

And we’re almost there. We’re looking at a construction completion date of November 22nd, at which point we all take a step back from the building and we… pray for rain – literally! A mikvah has to have a certain percentage of living water, or mayim chayim, and so before the mikvah can open, specially designed borot, or wells, must be filled with naturally falling rainwater or snowmelt. As soon as the wells are full, we can use the mikvah!

In the meantime, however, we’re behind where we’d hoped we would be in our fundraising. In the process of raising money to build our mikvah, MOED was initially granted $150,000 by a mikveh-building philanthropic organization that operates nationally in the orthodox world. Unfortunately, because of MOED’s decision to host non-orthodox conversions, that organization was unable to fulfil its original grant. I want to be clear in saying that that this organization was transparent with MOED about this challenge, and they communicated to MOED with deep compassion and grace.

And, here’s the important part: When the news came down to the board of MOED that the money would not be granted, it was a swift and unanimous decision that the non-orthodox conversions and the pluralistic nature of this Mikveh were NOT up for discussion or compromise and that we would forego the $150,000.

As a reform rabbi, I am so deeply moved and inspired by this true partnership, by the spirit of pluralism and community that this decision conveys, and I am so proud of our Denver Jewish community for having the courage to work together to create something so magical.

And so I, along with the rest of the Temple Emanuel Clergy, am hopeful that our community will also step up and help us finish this Mikvah – because it is for YOU, too – whoever you are. This mikvah is for anyone who raises their hand and says “I’m Jewish,” regardless of race, affiliation, gender or sexual identity. It is for you – and for us – for our community’s many conversion students who will soon know the power of formalizing their Jewish identities in a space that was built from true friendship, partnership and collaboration. 

If you’d like to help us finish the mikvah, please donate. For more information, please email Rabbi Hyatt at hyatt@emanueldenver.org.
 
I’m grateful for your generosity, and for your help in dreaming about what our incredible community can do when we work together.
 
Warmly, 
Rabbi Emily Hyatt and your Clergy Team at Temple Emanuel

Tue, November 30 2021 26 Kislev 5782