The “Mitzvah for Mikvah” fundraiser last week at Congregation B’nai Torah raised $159,000 for Metro Atlanta Community Mikvah, the only non-Orthodox mikvah in the region.
MACoM offers a sacred space for pluralistic Jews to experience ritual immersion for a variety of life markers such as conversion, marriage, pregnancy, infertility, healing and milestone birthdays.
Rabbi Loren Filson Lapidus, head of the clergy advisory group, noted the large increase in conversions last year. “This mikvah is special because it is welcoming and spans across denominations: Reform, Conservative and Modern Orthodox.”
Chair of the March 7 event, Nancy Miller explained, “MACoM does not rely on any one synagogue for support. Immersion guests are asked to make a suggested donation for services, but no one is turned away for lack of ability to contribute. We can’t rely on this source of income to keep the doors open,” she said.
“What we lack in steady funding, we make up for by being a radically welcoming place. This spiritual landmark is vital to Atlanta’s vibrant Jewish community.”
During the pre-function reception, MACoM Board President John Thompson recounted his early years with the facility. “At the start of the mikvah, I was the facility chair at B’nai Torah, and was able to see the construction through, and have been involved ever since.”
Leah Blum, mikvah guide and vice president of the MACoM board, was one of the first lay people on the initial project. “My philosophy was ‘If we build it, they will come.’ And we raised enough money by the second year to pay off the debt!”
For the event last week, Jim White exquisitely designed the room with plump white blooms and blossoms accented by satiny aqua and turquoise shades of fabric. A Kosher Touch laid out a cornucopia of healthy dishes, wall areas aligned with a ravioli bar, pizza and three types of soup. The square center tables created an overflowing salad bar. In case anyone had room for more, a funnel cake bar heaped out dessert. Tours of the mikvah continued after the event.
During the dinner, “Synagogue Heroes,” who exemplified leadership, passion and purpose, were recognized in three video segments as they sat around tables expressing their positive outlook and dedication.
Among the honorees, Alan Wexler spoke about his community involvement. “My parents (of blessed memory) led by example in our small town, Carrolton, Georgia. Then the Ahavath Achim Synagogue was the stimulus for my constant community work. The teachings of Torah were not just passive writings. They were calls to action. Helping fellow human beings should be an easy effort. Just do it all the time and in short steps.”
Wexler joins those being honored for their service to MACoM: B’nai Torah – Sam Gold; Beth Shalom – Fred Rich; Temple Sinai – Larry Weiner; Bet Haverim – McKenzie Wren; Beth Tikvah – Marsha Mathis; Or Hadash – Jeanney Kutner, Sherry Frank; Gesher L’ Torah – Sue Chase, Andrea Capuano; Shearith Israel – Erin Chernow; Etz Chaim – Cheryl Eppsteiner, Cindy Lewis, Marsha Shrago; Ahavath Achim – Alan Wexler; Temple Emanu-El – Jessica (Jess) Goldberg; The Temple – Karen Zickel George.
- Marcia Caller Jaffe
- Congregation B'nai Torah
- Loren Filson Lapidus
- John Thompson
- Congregation Beth Shalom
- Temple Sinai
- Congregation Bet Haverim
- temple beth tikvah
- Congregation Or Hadash
- Congregations Gesher L’Torah
- Congregation Shearith Israel
- congregation etz chaim
- Ahavath Achim Synagogue
- Temple Emanu-El
- The Temple
- Mitzvah for Mikvah
- Metro Atlanta Community Mikvah
- Synagogue Heroes