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Stay out of our mikveh!

The power plays of coalition negotiations have absolutely no place in the holy waters of family purity

We are the young newlywed who has just started to go the mikveh and is slowly getting used to observing the Jewish laws of family purity.

We are the full-time student, having started university at a later age due to serving her country in Sherut Leumi or the army.

We are the woman struggling with infertility.

We are the woman who has tragically miscarried her baby.

We are the mother with many children at home.

We are the woman trying to juggle career and family.

We are the woman who has been sexually assaulted or physically abused and needs extra sensitivity and care.

We are the woman about to undergo a medical procedure that will end her halachic requirement to use the mikveh.

We are the woman beginning menopause wondering if this will be her last time dunking in the mikveh waters.

We are the woman who wants to ascend to the Temple Mount in a purified state.

We are the woman who loves dunking in the mikveh — who feels spiritually uplifted by the process.

We are the woman who hates going to the mikveh, because of the stress of the preparations, having to sneak away from kids or company, having to leave a “simcha” in the middle or feeling pressure to be “in the mood” when she returns home.

We are the woman who calls herself “chareidi,” “frum,” “dati,” “mesorati,” “chiloni,” “Reform,” “Conservative,” “Reconstructionist,” “unaffiliated” or any other combination under the sun.

We are the woman accepting upon herself the yoke of joining the Jewish people for the very first time.

We are the woman who wants someone to accompany her to immersion to assure her that she’s following every letter of the Halacha.

We are the woman who wants to dunk by herself in peace.

We are Jewish women and we want you lawmakers to STAY OUT OF OUR MIKVEH!

This past Monday a Knesset committee approved a bill that will allow local religious councils in Israel to determine who can and who cannot enter a state-run mikveh. We women don’t want the holy place of our mikveh to be used in your power plays and your one-up-man-ship. We don’t want you to legislate our spiritual matters because of coalition agreements. We want to follow the laws of family purity the way we see fit. State mikvaot should be open to everyone. The state’s role is to provide religious services to all of its citizens, not to choose who can use them and who cannot. Please allow us women to use the mikveh as we choose and STAY OUT OF OUR MIKVEH!

About the Author
Naava Pasternak Swirsky has a bachelor's degree in psychology and is a founder and co-owner of AlphaPatent Associates, Ltd, an intellectual property firm. She is the mother of four and currently lives in Beit Shemesh, Israel. She is a co-author of the book "There's a Shark in the Mikvah! : A light-hearted look at Jewish women's dunking experiences "
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