"Refraining from lovemaking for a certain length of time began as an experiment and then became completely integrated into the rhythm of our marriage. We make a blessing before we eat anything and sing the Sh’ma to our children every night. If we try to add Judaism to eating and loving our children, why would we exclude sex from this holiness-making?" Laura
For thousands of years, Jewish couples have observed the laws of niddah (separation) to sanctify their sexual relationship. Traditionally, a couple refrains from intimacy during a woman's menstrual cycle, and for seven days afterward. Immersing in the mikveh marks the point at which the couple may reunite physically.
Over the past decade or so, Jewish women of all descriptions and denominations have revisited the practice, discovering and infusing new meaning in its attention to female cycles.
It is important to note, however, that American Jews have, for the most part and for many generations, rejected niddah as archaic and demeaning to women. The practice was limited almost exclusively to the relatively small Orthodox community. At Mayyim Hayyim, members of Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, Orthodox and Renewal congregations, as well as unaffiliated Jews, are experimenting with monthly immersion.
This diversity of practice is, in fact, a hallmark of all Jewish ritual. Mayyim Hayyim is thus a continuation of the way that communities and individuals around the world and over time observed niddah in a variety of ways.
To learn more about monthly immersion: