I will admit I was pretty scared about doing mikvah in Israel. I have some secular Israeli friends who told me they heard mikvahs in Israel were dirty and gross. Before going any further I want to kill this notion. My mikvah experience was amazing, heavenly. If you're in Israel, go and experience the mikvah. It is absolutely wonderful. This mikvah was better than anything I experienced in the states.
We rented a kosher apartment in Rechavia. In the information booklet is a number for the local mikvah. I called them a few days earlier to make an appointment. I was informed no appointment was necessary, all I had to do was show up after 5pm and I could get ready there at my convenience. The mikvah is open seven days a week. I was skeptical but I decided to trust. In America I was asked to come to the mikvah ready, I was not used to having a space where I could actually spend some time preparing for the big dip.
I arrived at the mivkah confused. There was no grand entrance but I could read in Hebrew mikvah with an arrow pointing behind the building. I finally found a door but it was locked. I nearly gave up. I decided to try the other side of the building before going home. The other side of the building had a lovely door leading to a well lit walkway and the woman's entrance to the mivkah. I had found the men's entrance originally which isn't half as nice as the woman's side.
I walked in and nearly died in ecstasy. The place was gorgeous. Clean, beautiful, spa-like in design. When the woman at the front asked me if I wanted bath or shower I nearly keeled over. I haven't had a bath since leaving the States. I also have not had a hot shower more than twice since getting here. We learned yesterday that the heating element in our rooftop heater was broken. I went from taking daily hot baths to cold showers. It has probably been the hardest part of living in Israel. This morning I turned on the heater eagerly anticipating a hot shower, it was lukewarm at best. Still, it was a bit warmer than my daily cold showers so I am satisfied.
When I walked into the preparation room I was truly in ecstasy. I could barely speak. Right there in front of me was the most beautiful bathroom. There was a real bathtub that filled with hot, scalding water. I did not want to leave. When I was done I pushed the READY button and a lady opened the door leading to the mikvah from my room. Unlike at my local Chabad mikvah, she did not check me for any hairs on my hands or feet. She did ask if I checked myself and then encouraged me to get in.
The actual mikvah experience was very nice. I wish I could have had more time to sit and pray in the mivkah like the Chabad mikvah back home encourages me to do, but it's a busy mikvah and other women were waiting to dunk.
I left the mivkah completely relaxed. Every bone in my body melted under the heat of the hot bath and hot room. I was reluctant to return home to my balagan. I came home, Israeli cartoons were blasting, food was everywhere and a coffee table was overturned. I strongly considered turning around for a second round of dunking! So, if you're in Israel, don't be shy. Despite my lack of Hebrew and the mikvah lady's lack of English we did great, both of us happy to partake in such a special mitzvah.
And if you're curious to learn more about mikvah, here you go: http://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/1541/jewish/The-Mikvah.htm
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I'm a mom. A writer. A lover of good fantasy. A proponent of nursing when possible. A birth advocate. I am absolutely horrible at keeping my house clean or the dishes washed or the laundry done. I strongly believe in women having a positive birth. When we start to respect women's rights to birth the way they want, we can start to treat women as equal people in this world.
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