Accessibility and Inclusion, National Network

This year, we are revisiting member spotlights about our Rising Tide Network members. These spotlights were previously featured on a separate Rising Tide website that is now a main section of this website. We’re excited to introduce our amazing members to you!

2024 Update

In 2023, Rachel’s Well was honored with the inaugural Wellspring Award for “Collaborative Community Partnership.”

In partnership with the Oregon Board of Rabbis and the Portland Kollel, JFGP co-created Rachel’s Well Community Mikvah, providing overall leadership, vision, and funding to get the project started. Embodying the value of shutafut (partnership), JFGP convened community leaders, businesses, diverse stakeholders, and city officials to ensure the new mikveh was shaped by the voices and visions of everyone in the community. Over the past five years, the organization has continued to grow, oversee, and manage the mikveh, ensuring a safe and welcoming place for all Jews to have meaningful immersion experiences. View the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland’s acceptance speech here.

Original post by by Sarah Panzer, 2021-2022 Rising Tide Intern

Credit for this image goes to Exhibition Support: RuDiSu Meyer Family Fund of OJCF, Giving Council of OJCF, the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, Rachel’s Well Community Mikveh, and the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education.

Rachel’s Well Community Mikvah is the fourth iteration of a mikveh that has been in use in Portland, Oregon since the early 20th century. This mikveh located in a beautiful stand-alone building is part of a strong history of mikveh use  in the Portland community, which has housed one since 1902. Caron Blau Rothstein, Chief Allocations & Engagement Officer at Jewish Federation of Greater Portland and Manager of Rachel’s Well, says that she is excited to continue to expand on this history through exploring new inclusive uses of mikveh. She is excited about exploring new populations who may benefit from the incorporation of mikveh into their work with transitional experiences, such as social workers and educators. Some uses of mikveh that she is interested in include marking the completion of periods of mourning and celebrating gender transitions, though these are just two examples. Rachel’s Well is there to mark any transition, whether it is specifically Jewish or not, that can be imbued with additional meaning with a mikveh immersion.

Rachel’s Well contributes to the open mikveh movement through embodying values of true inclusivity. The mikveh is there to serve all members of the Jewish community, of all denominations and backgrounds. Whether someone is seeking to use the mikveh for halakhic purposes or to mark a new transitional experience, they are welcome and celebrated at Rachel’s Well. Rothstein expresses that this model of open mikveh has been the most inclusive project that she has ever worked on.

Rachel’s Well also strives to be an accessible mikveh in all senses of the word. They currently have an ADA-compliant bathroom and aim to become a completely ADA accessible location. Additionally, while the mikveh recommends a suggested donation from guests, no one is denied access to the mikveh based on financial ability. These are just a few ways that Rachel’s Well continues to build an open, accessible, and welcoming community space in Portland.

Rachel’s Well and The Rising Tide Open Waters Mikveh Network have a unique history because both organizations emerged around the same time. Rothstein reflects that both organizations grew together, and that Rachel’s Well was able to rely on founding Rising Tide members who helped connect her to important resources for establishing mikva’ot. She also notes that during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rising Tide has been especially important for collaborating with other members about safety protocols for mikva’ot.

To learn more about Rachel’s Well Community Mikvah, visit: