Tak­ing the Plunge: A Prac­ti­cal and Spir­i­tu­al Guide to the Mikveh

Miri­am C. Berkowitz
  • Review
By – March 9, 2012
At a time when mikveh is being redis­cov­ered and recon­sid­ered, Tak­ing the Plunge pro­vides a help­ful look at this often mis­un­der­stood tra­di­tion. This use­ful resource is meant to be an acces­si­ble guide to the his­to­ry and mean­ing of mikveh in Judaism. The author, a Con­ser­v­a­tive rab­bi, stands at an inter­est­ing inter­sec­tion of halachah and inno­va­tion. She is respect­ful and sen­si­tive to the halachic nuances of mikveh as a com­mand­ment, but as a woman rab­bi, she is also mind­ful of the chal­lenges that mikveh and the accom­pa­ny­ing fam­i­ly puri­ty laws pose for many con­tem­po­rary Jews. She takes into account fem­i­nist con­cerns, and in addi­tion to cov­er­ing the tra­di­tion­al uses of mikveh she also looks at some of the new ways that mikveh is being used today. She argues that mikveh is essen­tial­ly about striv­ing for holi­ness, and as such should not be dis­re­gard­ed as a pow­er­ful way to con­nect with the Divine. Her goal with this vol­ume is to raise aware­ness and increase knowl­edge about mikveh, so that Jews across the spec­trum will have the abil­i­ty to re-engage with this mean­ing­ful rit­u­al. This book is a valu­able resource for any­one look­ing to learn more on this top­ic. Appen­dices, bib­li­og­ra­phy, and glossary.
Hara E. Per­son was ordained by Hebrew Union Col­lege-Jew­ish Insti­tute of Reli­gion. She is a writer and editor.

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