Category — Mikvah

Mayim Bialik: Student of the Water

Posted by Guest Blogger

mayim_bialik_mikvah_photo

This post is part of Jewish Wedding Network’s ongoing series documenting a bride’s experience visiting the mikvah before her wedding day.

You may recognize Mayim Bialik for her lead role in the early-1990’s television sitcom Blossom as well as her current Emmy nominated role as Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory. After starring in Blossom Mayim earned a BS from UCLA in 2000 in Neuroscience and in Hebrew and Jewish Studies, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, also from UCLA, where she was also an active student leader at UCLA Hillel. Bialik is currently a board member, co-founder, and chair of Jewish Free Loan Association’s Genesis branch, and is an avid student of all things Jewish. She studies Torah on a weekly basis with a study mentor through Partners in Torah. Most recently she authored the attachment parenting book Beyond the Sling: A Real Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachement Parenting Way.

Mayim Bialik previously blogged about her Jewish wedding and now she shares her mikvah story:

I am a good student. I know that sounds like I am bragging; but I’m not. I am just being honest. My parents are both teachers and I was raised with an immigrant philosophy: study hard and succeed. So when I planned to “study” with a bride teacher before my wedding in 2003, I decided I was going to be a good student. No matter what.

I approached this study sort of anthropologically: What have thousands of years of Jewish history been teaching women about being a “good wife?” What does that mean to me now? Will this tarnish my feminist sensibilities beyond repair?

I studied for several months (nearly half of our engagement!) with an excellent and very hip modern Orthodox woman, herself the wife of a Rabbi, a licensed therapist, and mother to 3 beaming and brilliant daughters. I mostly learned the rules of Niddah, which was daunting and kind of intimidating. The customs of not touching one’s husband for almost half of every month seemed, frankly, archaic and outdated. I was not at all sure if I even wanted to pursue this line of exploration. Not for me; no thank you.
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July 14, 2009   16 Comments

Healing Waters

Posted by Guest Blogger

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This is the second in an ongoing series of posts documenting a bride’s experience visiting the mikvah before her wedding day. Hadassah Sabo-Milner is an observant Jew, and a thirty-something mother of four who writes honestly about her experience of visiting the mikvah before her second trip down the aisle:

The mikvah is a necessary part of a religious married woman’s life. I must admit to loving the whole idea of ritual purification, of being spiritually cleansed so that I can “be” with my spouse on all different levels – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When I was married the first time I enjoyed taking the time to prepare for immersion, not just physically, but mentally. I also enjoyed the “me time” I was able to snag that one night a month––to go to the mikvah and prepare there without any of my kids banging on the bathroom door.

Now that I have returned to the state of holy matrimony, it is once again incumbent on me to use the mikvah. I now bring a different mindset to the whole thing. Marriage takes on a different meaning once you have experienced the pain of divorce. Some people never recover enough to be able to trust again; I was so worried that I would be one of them. But once my new husband entered my life, enabling me to once again trust, he inspired me to be both a better person and a better Jewess.

When I prepared for the mikvah before my wedding it was a true celebration – not only was I cleansing my body and soul in preparation for my marriage, but I also was renewing my sacred bond with the One Above, washing away the anguish, the sadness and the raw pain of the years that intervened between my last immersion and this one. I was always taught that the waters of the mikvah aren’t there to wash away dirt–for we are physically clean before we enter it–but that they are there to wash away spiritual impurity.
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May 25, 2009   1 Comment

How I Learned to Swim..in the Mikvah

Posted by The Mrs.

swimming_underwater

This is the first in an ongoing series on Jewish Wedding Network chronicling a bride’s experience visiting the Mikvah.

The decision to visit the mikvah before my wedding was a no brainer.  I knew that is was not very likely that I would be visiting a mikvah again (or at least on a regular basis as Orthodox Jews do), and I saw it as a once in a lifetime experience that I did not want to pass up.

The issue was that I had high expectations, and I was concerned about being let down. I desperately wanted it to be a spiritual experience, something that would move me in a very profound way.  I had heard good and bad stories about the mikvah – both from those who had highly spiritual experiences to those that had run-ins with the stereotypical “Mikvah Lady.”  I tried my best not to let the horror stories deter me as it had done for so many of my friends.

I laid the foundation for my “good experience” by choosing a new spa-like mikvah on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  The mikvah lady was young and pretty and kind, nothing like the dreaded mikvah ladies you hear all about.

And so the day arrived, and I was left alone standing naked as the mikvah lady inspected my body for dirt and loose hairs before I descended into the mikvah.  I stood there completely uncomfortable, laughing to myself how strange this all was, thinking “This better be worth it.”

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May 8, 2009   8 Comments