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The First Day

Sunday, 10 October 2010

I am twenty-five hundred miles from home. I almost missed my flight. Haven’t had a proper meal all day. And was so tired that I gave up seeing a dear friend AND hanging out with my cousin.

Welcome to BeanTown. Only it appears that I’m not actually going to spend any time in the city.

My plan: Touch down at 7:10am. Arrive at hotel by 8:00am. Check into room, take a quick nap, and head into town. I love Boston. Don’t get here enough. And was hoping to enjoy walking the city before meeting up with folks.

My reality: Touch down at 6:45am. Arrive at hotel around 8:00am. Was told that room would be ready at 9:30am. Sat in lobby until room was ready. Around NOON. By this time, exhausted and rather hungry. VERY limited room service options. Too tired to eat. Cancelled lunch plans in order to take a nap. Woke up, got redressed, and went off in search for food. Found a vending machine and grabbed a Snickers and water before heading over to the mikvah.

What is so amazing is how many people I know here at the conference though I came assuming I wouldn’t know anyone. Some from real life. Some I haven’t seen in nearly twenty years. From rabbinical school. From college. From all over. Some I’ve only met online including Velveteen Rabbi.

And we are all here to talk about ==> mikvah. In our breakout sessions, we shared our motivations for attending a mikvah conference. The reasons are vast; some personal, some professional, all fascinating.

For me, my attendance is two-fold. I hope to gain the language that will accurately and passionately articulate why mikvah has a place in liberal Judaism so that I can educate more girls and women about the role it can play in their ritual lives. Furthermore, as I continue in my own ritual observance, I eagerly anticipate wrestling with the texts that have mandated this practice throughout the generations. Though much of the conversation revolves around the innovative ways in which immersion can be used, I am particularly interested in the traditional role mikvah can, and should, play in the Jewish home.

What struck me tonight, amongst other things, is how much I love to learn and how much pleasure I get when listening to an engaging lecturer. Knowing Dr. Jonathan Sarna only through his writings, I was delighted to discover that he is simply amazing in person. I cannot fathom how compelling a professor he must be or how much I would learn if given the opportunity to study with him for any significant length of time.

As was recounted tonight, for many non-Orthodox Jews, the first introduction to a mikvah is atop Masada. It is time for us to reclaim what is rightfully ours.

**********************************

Haveil Havalim is live over at the Ima’s place. Go see what a great job she did this week and thank her for all of her hard work!

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. Sunday, 10 October 2010 10:07 pm

    Awww, thanks! This “dear friend” missed you too … So glad today was so fulfilling for you (for your soul, anyway!). I think Aliza is amazing and if I weren’t at a conference on the other side of Boston, I might have just been there with you! Continue to enjoy and reflect!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 11 October 2010 7:56 pm

      Thanks, love. This has been an amazing conference and I am so grateful to have been here!!!

  2. Sunday, 10 October 2010 10:14 pm

    OMG!!! Nahum Sarna’s son is a speaker!!! I’m TOTALLY envious!! I love both the father AND the son’s work… The senior Dr. Sarna’s books, especially “Understanding Genesis,” and “Exploring Exodus” are two of my favorites and his various commentaries are fablous!! The junior Dr. Sarna’s books on American Jewry are classics!! I can’t imagine hearing him speak! His father recently passed away, I think… sometime last year? Wow… I’m guessing that hearing him speak made the otherwise frustrating first day completely worth it!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 11 October 2010 8:10 pm

      Do you think that Nahum Sarna was ever referred to as “Jonathan Sarna’s father”?????

      It was really cool to hear him and try to imagine what it must be like to sit in a lecture hall and learn from him.

  3. Monday, 11 October 2010 3:42 am

    Wish I was there too….looking forward to living vicariouly through you! 🙂

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 October 2010 12:41 pm

      You would have SOOOOO loved it here. And I even ran into someone who is a reader of my blog because she knows YOU!

  4. Monday, 11 October 2010 4:01 am

    I am glad you are attending, and for the reasons you state. I also know some of those who are there with you (the way you do). I see that there are a few men presenting. I am curious to learn how many men participate in the conference, and if use of the mikveh (I’ve begun using the Wikipedia’s primary spelling http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikveh) by men is also on the agenda.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 October 2010 12:44 pm

      There were definitely some men, though a good majority of those in attendance were presenting.

      There was a breakout group today that dealt specifically with the issue of men and the mikveh. Cannot recall if there were any other sessions that addressed it directly and my program is in my checked luggage.

      I will say that in a number of sessions, the meaningful use of mikveh for men was most certainly mentioned.

  5. Monday, 11 October 2010 6:10 am

    I hope to gain the language that will accurately and passionately articulate why mikvah has a place in liberal Judaism so that I can educate more girls and women about the role it can play in their ritual lives. Furthermore, as I continue in my own ritual observance, I eagerly anticipate wrestling with the texts that have mandated this practice throughout the generations.

    Yes — this, for me too! I am really hoping we can connect in person today.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 October 2010 12:45 pm

      I am so glad that we had the opportunity to connect, though I wish we would have had more time together. Your little one is so cute 😉

  6. Former Reform Jew permalink
    Monday, 11 October 2010 1:15 pm

    ישר כח

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 October 2010 12:45 pm

      Thanks!!

  7. Monday, 11 October 2010 4:46 pm

    I can’t wait to hear more! Can we set up a skype date or some such post-conference to discuss more of what you learned and keep having the conversation?

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 October 2010 12:48 pm

      I would so enjoy that, M. I am landing late tonight. Drop me a line with some possible times. You would have just loved the conference! And, knowing you, probably knew several of the people there!

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  1. The Dialogue Continues! | The Mikveh Lady Has Left The Building

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