Sitting with his back hunched, his wife by his side and a kippah on his head, a 23-year-old bearded Orthodox man nervously told a gathering of parents at a private residence near Pico-Robertson that a young man named Mendel Tevel had sexually abused him when he was 14.
Clarifying existing policy, the office of Israel’s deputy religious services minister said Israel’s state-sponsored mikvahs are open for use for Conservative and Reform conversions.
Conversion to Judaism is not easy. It requires a change in beliefs, actions and lifestyle. It involves extensive study, practice, a leap of faith, a shift in perception and some sacrifice.
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.
Though demure in their dress, the women of the Mikvah Society of Los Angeles were not as modest with their checkbooks during an "Evening of Auction and Ambiance," a Nov. 2 fundraiser for the maintenance of Mikvah Esther located on Pico Boulevard.
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.
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"I'm pretty much your classic disaffected Gen-X kind of gal. I have too many shoes, I work too hard, I'm cynical, I'm broke. So when it came time for me to immerse before my wedding, I figured I'd bring some friends, we'd hang out, I'd get wet, we'd go eat, and that would be the end of it."