Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mikvah choices

I find myself in an awkward position.  When I moved to the South Bay area, I moved because I was getting married.  In order to be married I wanted to go to the mikvah.  The JCC has a mikvah.  I called up, asked some questions, and was promptly informed that the mikvah wasn't for me.  That because I was an intermarried woman, they wouldn't allow me to use their mikvah.

That's my dark secret.  The place my daughter goes to school each day denied me a fundamental right of a Jewish woman.

I found a place to go to the mikvah (there is a lovely, inclusive one at the AJU) but I still can't get over the fact that the JCC refused me access to theirs.

I would like to go to the mikvah regularly.  Not necessarily because I won't hand Working Dad a plate until I go, but more because I feel strongly that it's a ritual that can bring some clarity and peace to your life.  Sometimes it's hard to be a woman.  The changes your body goes through every month (or thereabouts) can make life challenging.  Sometimes it does mean an opportunity for family expansion lost.  Other times it just means one more cycle of life is passing by.

But I believe it's nice to mark it in some way.  To take a private moment to be thankful to G-d that everything is working, that the moment has passed.  But the JCC in the South Bay said this isn't something they could offer me.

It's interesting, because I'm not exactly sure why my being intermarried has anything to do with my need to observe the ritual purity laws of the mikvah.  Turns out that going to the mikvah as a single woman can cause quite the controversy...

Only yesterday in Israel were they debating the requirements about women professing the reason for attending the mikvah, etc.  It seems to me that each time a woman chooses to take a step towards keeping a religious tradition that we should encourage that.  The issue speaks to me the same way that some parents refuse to give their children the gardasil shot, for fear that it will encourage them to have sex earlier than they would other wise like.

So, I haven't been back to the mikvah since having EG.  While the mikvah at the AJU is quite nice, it's also an expensive undertaking, and a bit out of the way for someone with a young baby.

Maybe the JCC will open their mikvah.  Until then, the ocean works :-)

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