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Mishpacha participants speak

Excerpted with permission from on-line discussions in the Mishpacha private communities

on mikvah

Author: Sue L.
Date: Jan. 2 5:29 AM 1998

For me it is both a mystery and a turnoff.[Approval Pending]

Author: Melisa C.
Date: Jan. 3 10:30 PM 1998

One of the things I am truly coming to love about Judaism is its cyclical nature, the way the passing of time is marked from one Shabbat to the next, from sundown to sundown, from holiday to holiday.

As I learn more about Judaism and increasingly pay more attention to its nuances I have become much more aware of the passage of time, changes in the seasons, the lengthening and shortening of days.

I am attracted to the idea of keeping to the traditional rhythms of intimacy with my husband, to have that time "built in" to our days and weeks.[Approval Pending]

Author: Ricki H.

Date: Jan. 9 8:28 AM 1998

I think we need to get away from the concept of the Mikvah making a woman pure for her husband. A woman does not become impure from menstruation, but it is a monthly cycle that reminds us of who we are--women.

It would be wonderful if husband and wife could, together, prepare themselves for reinitiation of their sexual intimacies after the cycle without the sexist overtones. We have a choice as to whether we turn our backs on the entire tradition based on its sexist basis, or accept the fact that we can make changes; we can interpret, based on our understanding of history and societal values. [Approval Pending]

Author: Dianne C.
Date: Jan. 4 4:04 PM 1998

For me natural bodies of water-- the ocean, a lake, a stream -- are the ideal mikvahs, mikvahs without all the institutional and communal baggage.

You can let what mikvah has become in the Jewish community define the experience for you, or you can decide, as much as possible, and if you are interested, to define the experience for yourselves.[Approval Pending]

Mishpacha private communities

The Mishpacha private communities bring together cohesive, ongoing groups of 25 people to engage in discussion. Participants will delve deeply into issues of Jewish identity, beliefs, and traditions -- and probe their significance for us and our children.

As a member of a Mishpacha community, you'll explore a Jewish experience that will enrich the spiritual dimension of your life. An experienced Jewish educator will guide the study and aid in shaping discussions. As part of Mishpacha, you’ll help create an ongoing and vital community of people who are talking together, studying together, and sharing life's experiences in an atmosphere of searching, support, and respect..

Mishpacha utilizes message boards and live chats to create the community. If you're interested in taking part, please fill out our Application Form.

More Mishpacha discussions

Author: Beth F.

Date: Jan. 9 1:14 AM 1998

I am drawn to the ideas in the Conservative movement to give new meanings to the Mikveh ritual and would like to see it used for all sorts of healing purifications. Some in our community are going to the Mikveh following major surgery, etc. and in that role it would be used by both men and women.[Approval Pending]

Mikvah and conversion

Author: Steffi K.

Date: Jan. 2 10:20 AM 1998

In my case, that experience of mikveh/aliyah/misheberach combined to help mark time and experience. [Approval Pending]

Sanctifying sexuality

Judaism and gender roles


Author: Cynthia B.
Date: Jan. 3 12:09 AM 1998

I've only been to the mikveh once, as part of my daughter's "conversion".

I had some difficulty with the concept that my daughter had to have something done to her to be Jewish.

When an adult converts, it is an affirmative intentional act/process. Conversion for a child seems very different. By the time we went to the mikveh, I had already sworn before God and the governments of two countries that my daughter would forever be regarded as if I bore her...my family is hers, my name is hers; why not my religious identity? If my ancestors stood at Sinai, by virtue of adoption, so did hers. If she is raised in a Jewish home with a Jewish education and affirms that identity by her actions, why does she need to be dunked? It would make more sense to have a Jewish ritual of adoption whereby we welcome a child into the fold.

However, I was drawn to the mikveh experience as symbolizing our rebirth as a Jewish family and our Rabbi was very supportive of that theme.

The actual immersion was not quite as spiritual as I had hoped because Amanda hated it and screamed. Despite that, it was a very special occasion for us. Fortunately, Amanda does not seem to remember anything negative and talks about when we went to the "special pool". [Approval Pending]


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