Meet MACoM's Board:
Reasons why we love MACoM!
Michele Asrael Garber
MACoM Board President
My involvement with MACoM started just after it opened. I was trained to be a Mikvah Guide and to be able to ensure that each person who comes to MACoM gets to have the experience he or she wants. I have loved every experience, commemorating new beginnings, meaningful milestones, and traditional rituals in individuals’ lives. I have been witness to beautiful ceremonies and profound emotions. It never ceases to amaze me at how the use of MACoM touches each person – it is a remarkable place. Offering state-of-the-art immersions for millennia-old purposes, and marking modern transitions with ancient ritual, MACoM is not your grandmother’s mikvah!
I have served on the Board of Directors for 3 years, and I am currently honored to serve as President.
I became interested in MACoM after my friend Beth Tieman-Feldstein told me about it and sang its praises. Before joining MACoM as a guide, I had only visited a mikvah once, before my wedding. It holds special memories for me, though it was a strange experience at the time. I became a guide because I wanted to help people connect with this ritual and make it less intimidating for new immersees, while also making it comfortable and welcoming to those who immerse regularly.
I feel like I am constantly learning, but the thing that surprised me the most was how much mikvah - the ritual of immersion and mikvah, the place - are linked to our ancient history. The idea of renewing one’s body, mind and spirit this way has been part of our Jewish experience for thousands of years. That connection was unexpectedly meaningful to me.
Each time I come into MACoM I take a deep, cleansing breath. Being in this space allows me to clear my head and enjoy a feeling of calm and relaxation. One thing that I love about MACoM is that everyone is welcome. Regardless of gender, race, level of Jewish practice or knowledge, MACoM will welcome you, support your experience, and allow you to find a moment of peace.
MACoM Board Co-Vice President
When I retired I was looking for new experiences and wanted to learn more about Jewish rituals. I first got involved with MACoM by going through their first guide training class and have been a guide ever since. Currently, I am serving on the board as Vice President. I love how the ancient tradition of immersion now takes place in a beautiful sacred, serene space. I think it is so important that the entire Jewish community can use this mikvah for personal spiritual reasons and for life cycle events. I personally did an immersion for a special birthday and found it to be a wonderful way to cleanse and heal from the past year while additionally feeling the warmth and flow of the new year coming. MACoM is truly a wonderful way to connect to Judaism, prayer and your inner self. I would encourage everyone to experience this wonderful ancient tradition.
MACoM Board Co-Vice President
MACoM Board Treasurer
Being involved in the Jewish community has always been important to me. It’s a value that my parents modeled when I was growing up and I feel privileged to use my skills for the greater good.
Since working with MACoM, it’s become clear to me that a small group of people with a shared vision can truly accomplish great things. I’ve also grown to appreciate that anyone, regardless of their age, gender or affiliation with Judaism, can find meaning in mikvah immersions.
I’ve actually never used the mikvah personally, but my daughter asked if she could immerse prior to her Bat Mitzvah. This was a profoundly moving experience for her and a way to gain a deeper meaning and understanding of what this milestone signified.
I’m especially proud of the new partnership between MACoM, Jewish Family & Career Services and Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta. The POW! program is such a valuable resource for women in our community at a time when it is needed more than ever. This is also a testament to what we can accomplish when we work together.
MACoM Board Secretary and Guide Trainer
Mikvah and mikvah education have been a passion of mine for decades. I want every member of the Jewish community from every background to learn about the power of this ancient tradition, to connect our every day to the spiritual, and to mark life's important moments.
MACoM's Clergy Advisory Group has done truly extraordinary work to create shared guidelines for MACoM that serve the diversity of the Jewish community under one roof.
Mikvah has been a deeply important part of my life rhythm since I got married. It has helped me mark time, take note of the changes in my life, and pause to reflect. The power of those quiet moments and this ancient ritual serve as an important opportunity for connection and reset.
MACoM is one of the very few institutions that serves every part of the Jewish community. The mikvah is a space for not only immersion, but also for spiritual engagement and a safe, healing space in which to move through liminal moments.
Rabbi Joshua Heller
In rabbinical school, I chose to study the laws of Mikvah construction, but only immersed for the first time just before ordination. MACoM was a dream of mine for a long time. B'nai Torah had operated a mikvah for over 25 years, but it really wasn't sufficient to serve the needs of our growing community. When the opportunity arose to create a beautiful facility that would be owned by, and serve, the broader community, I was glad to be one of those who helped make it happen (I even gave up one of the windows of my office, and my private restroom at B'nai Torah to make it happen).
I love that MACoM is one of the few ritual spaces that serves Jews of many different ritual approaches. As the "Rav Hamachshir" I still help ensure that the plumbing and operational aspects of the Mikvah operate to the highest ritual standards, and what I have learned in working at MACoM to advise other communities that are developing or operating similar mikvaot.
Rabbi Heller's hands on work building MACoM!
Rabba Melissa Scholten-Gutierrez
Clergy Advisory Group Leader
MACoM is one of the only pluralistic Jewish ritual spaces in Atlanta. I'm proud that we welcome everyone across the spectrum of Jewish identity and observance to find meaning in this ritual. Throughout my involvement with MACoM, I have enjoyed hearing about the different ways community members have honored special milestones through immersion.
I have found tremendous meaning in mikvah immersion at different points in my life. As a Reform Jew, I am able to approach mikvah in creative ways, asking how this ancient tradition can speak to me as a Jewish woman for spiritual uplift and comfort. MACoM is a community institution--we are stronger and better when we are supported and used by as many members of our Atlanta Jewish community as possible. I think that once someone comes in our doors, they can become our best ambassadors for what mikvah generally, and MACoM specifically, can mean in our community.
MACoM is truly a community mikvah. A place where the entire community is welcome to immerse in a way that is meaningful for them. It provides access and opportunities to Jews across the spectrum to have transformative experiences in moments of transition, including women who observe taharat hamishpacaha and have a monthly immersion practice after menstruation.
I’ve been involved in the open waters community mikvah movement for over ten years and the impact stories still blow me away. Women who never thought they’d find themselves in any mikvah end up feeling deep connections, women who felt uncomfortable in traditional mikvaot left feeling welcomed and complete, and countless people have been empowered to make Judaism theirs again. That’s really what it’s all about. Judaism doesn’t belong to “the rabbis” - it belongs to each one of us.
Rabbi Loren Filson Lapidus
Former CAG Chair , Current Board Member
MACoM Board Member
Mikvah is an important ritual in the Jewish faith and MACoM is Atlanta's inclusive mikvah. MACoM is a welcoming environment that enables meaningful immersion experiences for the Greater Atlanta community and beyond.
As a Past President of Congregation B'nai Torah, I've witnessed the transformation of what a mikvah can become in serving the broader community with a warm and inviting atmosphere. Believing strongly in paying it forward and giving back to the community, it's been an honor to serve on MACoM's Board. I continue to learn about mikvah with each passing month.
MACoM Board Member
Mikvah is a powerful and transformative experience. MACoM is one of the few places that helps open this experience up to people across the spectrum of Jewish practice and belief. I have loved learning about all the amazing educational programs and artists MACoM helps highlight and lift up. I have used the mikvah personally during challenging times of my life, like when I was experiencing infertility, and in joyous celebrations - right before my wedding, at the conversion of my friends' adopted baby, and just recently in preparation for my twins' B'not Mitzvah. The mikvah has helped frame and honor these transitions in life and given me a physical way to manifest these spiritual and emotional moments. We are so lucky to have a place like MACoM to guide and support our Jewish community through both the education and spiritual support with this beautiful ritual.
MACoM Board Member
I became involved in MACoM because of the welcoming and positive nature of this organization. I had always seen and heard that MACoM was an inclusive organization, but I have learned through my time on the Board the true depth that the organization goes to welcome people from all walks of life. MACoM has helped people I know through good times and through bad times, and we strive to keep this organization at the forefront of the community’s mind whenever it can be of assistance. My hope is that MACoM will continue to act as a source of strength and comfort for all in the Jewish community.