Rising from the Ritual Bath

Reimagining the traditional practice of immersing in the mikveh.

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Where will the practice of mikveh go in the future? How will Jews imagine purity and impurity, separation and togetherness? Many questions remain. Is mikveh a ritual that should be offered to adolescent girls as a source of spirituality? How might a couple who is not married but is sexually active relate to the practice of tumah and taharah? In what new and creative ways will men use mikveh? What kind of mikveh practice would two lesbians choose? How will Jewish law develop in this area? The options are varied and colorful. The future of this ancient practice is still unfolding. As Marge Piercy writes in her poem "Kaddish": "Time flows through us like water..." (The Art of Blessing The Day. Middlemarsh, 1999, p. 138).

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Rabbi Jill Hammer

Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD, is an author, educator, midrashist, myth-weaver, and ritualist. She is director of Tel Shemesh, a website celebrating Jewish earth-based traditions, and co-founder of Kohenet: The Hebrew Priestess Institute. She is the author of Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women (Jewish Publication Society, 2001) and The Jewish Book of Days (Jewish Publication Society, 2006).