Late on a recent Wednesday afternoon, Judith Golden and Suzanne Rosenthal perched at their desks in a small room in the depths of American Jewish University (AJU).
Fourteen years ago, Catherine and Bruce Penso’s oldest daughter, Leah, was ready to become a bat mitzvah. But before her big day, Leah told her parents that she wanted to go to the mikveh and formally convert.
For Chris Hardin, converting to Judaism was a family affair. In November 1994, Hardin, then 38, stepped into the mikveh. That day, his daughter and wife did the same.
A mikvah uncovered during construction will be restored in a museum as the oldest testament to Jewish life in Holland to date.
A new mikvah to replace one destroyed by the Soviets was dedicated in the Siberian community of Tomsk, Russia.
Noach Dzmura has a master’s degree in Jewish studies, publishes widely on Jewish topics and is the communications director at his synagogue. In 2006, he received an award from the San Francisco Jewish Federation that funded a year’s study in Israel.
Mikvah Mei Menachem, a $350,000, 1,100-square-foot ritual bath facility set in north Redondo Beach on the expansive campus of Jewish Community Center-Chabad of the Beach Cities, brings an opulent mikvah option to the South Bay area.
When Lee Larsen and Bob Clarke met in the 1970s at the 8709 Bathhouse -- one of Los Angeles' best known gay social spots of the time -- they never imagined that they would one day share a very different kind of aquatic experience.
"I was raised Jewish, was always told I was Jewish," said the 35-year-old, who did not want his real name printed. "I went to Jewish camps, even had a bar mitzvah." But when Levine joined a Conservative congregation after his marriage, the rabbi told him that because his mother was not Jewish, he needed a legal conversion.
Mikvah attendance requires conscious, vigorous preparation, including bathing, washing and combing the hair, cutting fingernails and removing all jewelry, makeup or anything that is a barrier between a woman and the mikvah waters. It gives a woman the opportunity to luxuriate in being "squeaky clean" and offers a time to focus on the miracles of being a woman.
Tajikistan's government has begun demolishing the Central Asian nation's only synagogue, offering in exchange a plot of land far from where most Jewish community members live.
The work started last month. So far, demolition crews have destroyed part of the synagogue's property, including the mikvah (ritual bath) and classroom space, according to sources in Dushanbe, the capital city. The synagogue's yard was turned into a dump for the refuse.
"Six months after giving birth, and I'm still impure," says Anat Zuria, director of the controversial Israeli documentary, "Purity," as she glumly strides to the mikvah (ritual bath) on a cold, Jerusalem night.
After years of being talked about in hushed tones as "the change of life" -- or not being talked about at all -- menopause is now in the spotlight. Two recent plays, "Is it Hot in Here ... Or Is it Me?" and "Menopause the Musical" literally put menopause center stage.
Picture a woman floating submersed in a warm bath, the water enveloping her like the womb and bringing her to a renewed state of spiritual purity.
For the 27 years of my married life, I measured all the mikvah ladies I met by Rachel. It was unfair competition. Had Agnon known her, he would have written a story about her, like he did about Tehila. But, of course, he couldn't have known her like we, the women, did.
A new mural joins the A-list of great Jewish murals in Los Angeles.
Judaism has long recognized the transformative powers of the mikvah waters. A women descends in a state of tumah, of ritual impurity, and emerges tehorah, pure. A convert descends a gentile, and emerges a Jew.
While that may sound like an old Jewish joke, it's an arrangement that well suits a community which feels at home in this overwhelmingly Buddhist nation but keeps a low profile.