Taking on Something New

Post by Jessica

There’s a lot of things going on right now in my life related to taking on new things, but I am thinking about one thing in particular at the moment.

I’m starting “kallah (bridal) classes” this coming week. Yes, we’ve been married since September 2007, but the truth is, we moved right before the wedding, and I really had minimal exposure to what I was supposed to be doing with mikvah. It wasn’t important at that point in time in my life, and it just hasn’t been any where in my priorities until now.

It’s always been something that has interested me, and as several people could attest, it’s something I’ve asked about in various contexts over the past few years. However, I just never got around to really doing something about it. Once we realized that the whole R becoming a rabbi thing was going to be a reality, I started thinking more and more about this particular aspect of my life. We keep kosher, we keep Shabbat – but what about this? And so I started looking into it. Clearly, Melissa is a big supporter of the cause, but since we don’t actually live in the same city at the moment (I love the internet!) there were limited opportunities to talk to her about it and she couldn’t be the one to hold my hand through it. I talked to another friend about it, and even got her notes from her kallah class, which I devoured, but it still wasn’t enough to push me over the edge. I bought a book about it (Taking the Plunge – here – excellent, if a little hard to get) which was a great resource and helped me feel more comfortable.

Nothing was pushing me over the edge, and, as it often is, it was an unlikely conversation that prompted me to really do something about it. On the seventh day of Passover, R and I somehow got onto the topic of our immersions before our wedding, which took place in a lake nearby where we got married. It was deserted and the park district seemed a little mystified, if okay, with our request for a “ritual bath.” So we went, on two different days, but I think our difference in experience had to do more with attitude than anything else. He thought of it as an adventure. I thought of it as something that meant that I didn’t really get the celebration of mikvah that I hadn’t really known I’d wanted until I didn’t have it. The longer we’ve been married, I think, the more I realize that I might have missed out. And I wanted to fix that. So, I had a conversation with our program director, who is a really lovely woman, and we set it up to start this coming Monday.

In a way, this is probably the first time I’ve really done something with the specific idea that I’m going to be a rabbi’s wife as part of my motivation., and that feels like some kind of milestone. Not only that, I feel like it marks some kind of transition in my life, although I’m not sure exactly what. I’m hoping to learn a lot and to find meaning and joy..and deal with the lingering feelings of doubt and uncertainty. I’ll keep you updated.

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10 thoughts on “Taking on Something New

    • Thank you so much for your support! It really means a lot to me!!

      And thanks for the link to your experience as well – very powerful. I liked reading the other experiences there as well!

  1. and btw, ladies, I blog a lot about mikvah too – so we can stand together and be loud and proud about it. Enough with the silence surrounding it. Enough with the whispering of it being wrong to discuss it – it’s part of who we are as Jewish Women.

    • i love that you blog about it too! aliza also did a lot, so we should find some of her posts and throw them back into circulation {with her permission of course} as we get loud-er and proud-er!

  2. I am certain that you will find this meaningful and wonderful, rather than a have-to kind of thing because of career commitment. Kol Ha’Kavod.

  3. hsabomilner is a fabulous resource for ALL things jewish – but she, too, is a particularly brave individual who blogs about the living waters. it is good to see others such as the rebbetzins on this blog joining in the conversation.

    taharat hamishpacha should be embraced as a positive and life.affirming mitzvah for women [i know i personally look forward to tevila as a married woman, some day, g-d willing], and i think y’all’s openness to the discussion is a huge step in that direction.

    so, thank you, and kol hakavod.

  4. I’m a spiritual person but also not spiritual at the same time in some. I love going to the mikvah but I don’t get anything super-duper spiritual out of it. I like doing it because I feel connected to thousands of years of women. I tell people that when they talk about going to the mikvah because I think it’s a great thing to do even if you don’t have the amazing rebirth experience that some people talk about. (just like how some people don’t feel spiritually transformed after visiting the Kotel)

  5. I hope you can get into this (no pun intended, honest) in a way that works for you.

    However, I would caution you that I found the mikveh lady at the liberal mikveh in your area to be intimidating as heck. She’s not mean, but I was scared out of my mind, and she didn’t help my nerves. I would suggest asking around for mikveh recommendations. And who knows? She may work with your personality in a way that she didn’t with mine. Call her and talk to her to see, since they don’t do walk-ins anyway.

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