niddah

Unpacking Niddah

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by Rabbi Miriam-Simma Walfish Niddah is the practice of abstaining from sexual intimacy around the time of menstruation. When contemplating the rabbinic laws surrounding menstruation, it can be easy to wonder: Why is there a whole area of Jewish law devoted to the intricacies of determining the beginning and end of women’s menstrual cycles? At times, […]

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The Monthly Mitzvah

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Originally posted in March 2017 by Anonymous As a Jewish woman living a traditional halachic life (governed by Jewish law), I am often faced with questions from myself and others regarding my religious choices. One question that will likely always come up is that of the place of women in halachic Judaism. In modern-day Orthodoxy, […]

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On Letting Go and Spiritual Revolution

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by Kelly Banker, Intern The poet Mary Oliver says: “To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal, to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.” Although Mary Oliver […]

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Our Bodies, Our Mikveh

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by DeDe Jacobs-Komisar, Development Manager This week marks my first Mayyim Hayyim “work-iversary.” When I started as Development Manager in July of 2014, the very first thing I did was observe an educational program with high school students from Genesis, a Brandeis University Jewish studies summer program for teens from all over the world. It […]

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Orange is the New Black but Mikveh is the New Orange

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by Leah Wittenberg, Mayyim Hayyim Intern  “There was a mikfa on oitnb!” This was the slightly confusing text I received from one of my friends who is not Jewish, but knows I am interning at a mikveh, Mayyim Hayyim, this summer. She is also in tune with Judaism due to all the Friday nights she has spent […]

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What on Earth Are They Going to Do?

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by Ilana Snapstailer “What on earth are they going to do for two hours at a mikveh?!” asked a parent. The truth is, I was not entirely sure, but upon many recommendations, I scheduled a visit to Mayyim Hayyim with my girls. I am not yet a mother.  “My girls” refers to the group of […]

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A Shabbat for my Marriage

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Editor’s Note: The author of this article prefers to remain anonymous. I never imagined that I would observe regular mikveh practice.  I didn’t grow up Orthodox, nor do I identify as such now.  I didn’t have female role models in my life who were using the mikveh, no one encouraged me to take on the […]

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Membership in the Women's Club

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by Rabbi Pamela Jay Gottfried I was delighted when Rabbi Joe Brodie, the Dean of Student Life and father figure to many of us at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), agreed to officiate at my wedding. I was also anxious. Like my future spouse, Joe was fairly traditional about ritual observance, and I was embarrassed […]

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Disconnection from the Physical

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Written by Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman A few months ago, a well-meaning hasid from Jerusalem was trying to figure out what it meant for the woman he’d just seen lead a traditional mincha-maariv service to be both Jewishly observant and a rabbi.  He asked me: Do you keep shabbes?  Yes, I responded.  You don’t drive?  Right.  […]

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Surrender Yourself

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Written by Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin The mikveh has been part of my life for 35 years. I have “taken the waters” in Manhattan, Beer Sheva, the Atlantic Ocean, New Jersey, Baltimore, and just this past spring, at Mayyim Hayyim. I have written healing rituals for post-partum ceremonies, victims of abuse, rape, illness, infertility, separation […]

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A Moment to Myself

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Women go to the mikveh for many reasons. For most, it is seen as a monthly ritual to purify oneself in living waters, mayyim hayyim, after menstruation and preparation for physical reunification with a spouse. I think many women look at the mikveh as a monthly chore, another appointment to fit in to an already […]

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