If you've been reading my blog you'll know I've been jotting down things I want to do before I die. I've called it a bucket list -- like the movie.
Yesterday I experienced Elizabeth's conversion ceremony in the University of Jusaism's Mikveh (AKA Jewish spa) -- an event pack-filled with beauty, love and spirituality.
I felt enormous joy in being there with Elizabeth at such a meaningful time in her life. I take great pride in being her friend – a friend across generations – and as she says, her mum in LA. She is so warm and loving and open that it’s a pleasure talking to and being with her. I really feel like her mentor and confidant – something so very special.
For the ritual she needed to completely immerse herself in the water three times and not touching anything – even her hands couldn’t touch each other. In between each dunk she said a prayer. At the end each of the Rabbis made a blessing, the cantor sang, and each of the witnesses said something. That part wasn't mandatory, but we all wanted to anyway. The women could actually watch the proceedings, but the men who were in the rooom had to stand behind a curtain with their backs to the curtain. They were witnesses to the sound of her dunking in the water. After we left the Mikveh area, she could stay alone for as long as she wanted.
Bottom line, I found it moving enough to want to experience it. It’s not the negative thing that the Orthodox Jews used to use it for – cleansing after women's unclean times -- e.g., after menstrual periods -- and preparing women to be Orthodox Jewish wives. Now, as a result of the feminist movement, women use it to commemorate all kinds of events -– deaths, births, anniversaries, as a way to regroup, re-focus, attain calm, and find new prospectives –- it would have been a calming and purifying thing to do after my son, Paul died. And, it's not too late. Perhaps Elizabeth will share the experience with me.
So, getting in a Mikveh is a new item on my bucket list.