Procedures at the Mikveh

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by Rabbi Stephen C. Lerner

When you immerse in the mikveh, there cannot be any barriers to the waters touching any part of your body.

Therefore, do not wear any makeup. Before you immerse, you will need to remove all jewelry and contact lenses. You will take a shower at the mikveh. Towels and soap will be provided.

(FOR WOMEN) A female attendant will be in the mikveh precincts with you. The court, valuing modesty, will stand outside the door when you immerse.

(FOR MEN) The bet din will enter the mikveh precincts after you are in the water.

In the water, you will be asked certain questions. Your responses must indicate that you unequivocally reject any other religion of which you may once have been part, and that you accept without hesitation the basic principles of Judaism.

You will immerse three times. Each time you must go totally under the water without touching any part of the mikveh. After the first immersion, you will recite two blessings in Hebrew. You will be expected to know them by heart. The text and translation follow:

PRAISED ARE YOU, O LORD OUR GOD, KING OF THE UNIVERSE, WHO HAS SANCTIFIED US WITH HIS COMMANDMENTS AND COMMANDED US WITH REGARD TO IMMERSION.

PRAISED ARE YOU, O LORD OUR GOD, KING OF THE UNIVERSE, WHO HAS KEPT US IN LIFE, SUSTAINED US AND ENABLED US TO REACH THIS TIME.

You will then immerse twice more.

After this you will emerge from the mikveh, dry off and dress. Mikvaot even come supplied with hair dryers these days.

A court will question you at the time of your immersion and if it finds you adequately sincere, knowledgeable and committed to Jewish living, we will then proceed to a synagogue where you will read the Declaration of Faith and will formally be accepted into Judaism. You may invite guests to the formal ceremony.

The Center for Conversion to Judaism generally uses one of the following mikvaot:

  • 234 West 78th Street -between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue (212) 799-1520

  • Windsor Road in Teaneck adjacent to Temple Emeth parking lot (201) 837-8220, 837-8340

  • Henry Hudson Parkway in Riverdale 3708 Henry Hudson Parkway -232nd Street Exit of Henry Hudson Parkway. (212) 549-8336

Each mikveh employs a different fee scale.

 


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