Monday, February 28, 2005

The Mikvah Project

Mikvah: An ancient ritual bath in which Jewish women traditionally immerse after their monthly cycle and before the resumption of sexual relations. Also used for conversion.

Mikvah has been passed down from mother to daughter as a thoroughly private, even secret ritual. Today it is a many-faceted silent celebration of womanhood observed by a broad spectrum of Jewish women.

This is the man I love. I went through two abusive marriages before I finally found the right guy. I want babies with him. I want clones of this man.

My first marriage was an arranged marriage when I was seventeen. Mikvah was something that I accepted in the same way we accepted other rules, even though I may not have liked them or understood why. When I married the second time, mikvah still meant nothing to me. Zero.

When I was standing in the mikvah on the night before my third wedding, I started crying. Each time I went down I felt more engulfed by the water, more purified by the water. The immersion that was supposed to be a preparation for getting married became an act of being born. In that short time I made a commitment that this is something I'm going to observe for me. No one is making me do it.


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