I went to a mikveh twice in my life, and I promised myself I would never go again
The first time must have been more than ten years ago. My giur process went very well and the Beth Din found me to be a good asset to the Jewish community, and so sent me to undergo a tevila at a mikveh in Jerusalem
The mikveh was very old, and quite dirty; I had to sit and wait for more than an hour and spent my time watching the herd of rabbis running to and fro. When it was my time, I was handed a wet dressing gown that had been worn before me by other girls that went through the same process. I was told to change into the dress inside a cabin that was dirty and full of mud on the floor
The water inside the mikveh was cold and with a stench of chlorine. One of the rabbis that came to watch the blessing was specifically looking at me in a very immodest way. I cannot even remember what was said, I was so upset
I came home and took a long shower, I felt disgusted and disappointed. Something that should have been one of the most important and spiritual events in my life had been reduced to something so dirty and loathing
When I told my story to Nechama (who was the first one I spoke to about the matter since more than nine years), she promised me that it could and should be different. It didn’t take me a long time to decide that all things deserve a second chance
We went last week to a little mikveh five minutes from my house. The path to the door was lighted with candles, a blessing written on the door, I felt like a queen.
Ziona the balanit was happy enough to show me the place, which was super clean and shining. The rooms were heated so I wouldn’t get cold, and there were fresh towels, a bathrobe and comfortable slippers. No rush, no running rabbis, nothing but warm, clean water and Ziona helping me with my blessings
Out of the water Nechama and my friends showered me with candies and cheers, like they do with brides that go to the mikveh for the first time. And that was really how it felt; a new beginning!
I tell all my friends now (and so many have been put off by previous experiences) that they can make amends with the past and make new beginnings, and add something spiritual, a private thing to their womanhood