By the Waters
My head is swirling. Three panels, two keynotes, and a story in song. An aliyah at Shacharit, making new friends, and reconnecting with a classmate. Had the opportunity to hear Rabbi Maya Leibovic, to learn from Rabbi Miriam Berkowitz, whose teshuvah on mikveh I have long admired, and Rabba Sara Hurwitz, who was every bit amazing as I’d imagined.
It has been, in a word, amazing.
But it has also contributed to a heaviness in my heart as I realize that there is no place for me. At least not yet. For although the Reform movement has embraced the use of the mikveh to mark transitional moments, our leadership is largely silent on the monthly use of the mikveh. Seeing a woman as niddah, and the subsequent immersion in the mikveh, was among the numerous “orientalisms” that were discarded by the early Reformers.
I am troubled, as I have noted in prior posts, about the rush toward innovation at the expense of tradition. Why can’t the laws concerning a woman, her menstrual cycle, and immersion in a ritual bath be a meaningful part of liberal Jewish life. At the very least, it ought to be a part of our conversation.
And so, it is by these living waters that I have wept. Wept that I seem to belong everywhere and yet nowhere. Wept because I yearn for a community who struggles with what it means to be an observant, liberal Jews.