"A Clean Start"

A new mikveh (a Jewish ritual bath) is opening in Newton, Massachusetts on Sunday and the Boston Globe's got this a story on it.

Mikvehs are usually used by Orthodox Jewish women--but this one, called Mayyim Hayyim, or "Living Waters," reports the Globe, was built by Boston's liberal Jewish community.

To what has historically been a practice associated with Orthodox Judaism, this
Mayyim Hayyim, which holds its grand opening celebration tomorrow, is the brainchild of Anita Diamant, author of the best-selling novel "The Red Tent." It seeks to merge age-old uses of the mikveh -- by married women after their monthly menstruation, by brides, by non-Jews converting to Judaism -- with new ones designed to add spiritual ritual to life transitions as varied as sending a child to college and ending chemotherapy.

Since I'm neither Jewish nor a woman, I'll not be visiting a mikveh anytime soon. But this piece, which focuses on a bride to be, Racher Zar-Kessler, who visits the mikveh before her wedding, was the next best thing to being there.

Still, the best lines belonged to her mother, Lorel Zar Kessler, who accompanied her daughter:

  • On a visit made to a mikveh last year:
    "As a liberal Jew, I'm aware I'm choosing the obligations I want to take on. It fascinates me that what liberal Jews say more is `I can choose not to.' We're trying to look at the power of accepting these obligations."

  • on why she'll return next month:

    "I think I need to learn to mark regular time and to feel gratefulness in the small daily events of my life. We can't just live for the major events in our lives, and there will be terrible times, too. We need to find a way to bless the regularity of our lives, too."


Powered by Blogger