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A Mikveh Lady of 30 years: Always more to learn!

A group of Australian women, who recently became qualified Kallah teachers through the Eden Center course, with scholarships from JOFA Australia. These women are part of the first-ever all-Australian cohort of Kallah teachers.
A group of Australian women, who recently became qualified Kallah teachers through the Eden Center course, with scholarships from JOFA Australia. These women are part of the first-ever all-Australian cohort of Kallah teachers.

I have been a Mikveh lady for many decades. Its important work: helping women in my community of Melbourne, Australia access the most sacred waters of this most holy Mitzvah.

In my almost 30 years of service, I have had the most personal and intimate conversations with women who come to the healing waters of the Mikveh. The conversations range from the aching loss of miscarriage and pain of infertility to women who take the chance to immerse in the Mikveh before Yom Kippur, so they can stand pure before G-d on the Day of Judgement. Other regular visitors to the Mikveh include nervous yet excited brides about to dip for the first time, regulars who follow these ancient laws every month, and sometimes, single women who feel the need to start a new chapter spiritually because nothing else worked

I am a people’s person. I love hearing people’s stories, about their journeys in life and I am always keen to understand what brings women, from all backgrounds and walks of life to the Mikveh.

In Melbourne, we have a very vibrant Jewish community. The Mikveh I serve at, Mikveh Chaya Moushka, is the biggest in Australia, with 10 rooms and bookings for every night of the year.

After serving as a Mikveh lady for this many years, one would think that I knew everything I needed to know in my role!

However, when Nomi Kaltmann, the president of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance Australia (JOFA), called me and asked my thoughts on whether the Mikveh ladies of Australia would want to undergo a training course offered by the Eden Center in Jerusalem, I immediately told her it would be a great idea.

I think that there is always more to learn.

After hearing my enthusiastic response, JOFA Australia decided to pay for Australian Mikveh ladies to receive professional development and training via the Eden Center in Jerusalem on Zoom. Excitingly, this is the first time that such a course had ever been offered to Australian Mikveh ladies, despite many years of enquiries from around the country.

And so, immediately after Pesach, I found myself with 10 other women from across Australia who serve as Mikveh ladies from 4 Australian States and Territories (Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory), representing 8 Australian mikvehs as we began a 12-week training course paid for with scholarships by JOFA Australia.

The Eden Center, with the support of JOFA Australia had recently trained 20 Australian Kallah teachers and the success of their program convinced them that despite being far away, Australia was ready to embrace the changes that further education of women can provide.

The teachers at the Eden Center are brilliant. They are warm, educated and so engaging! It is also wonderful connecting with Mikveh ladies from across Australia. We all have so much to learn and to share from one another’s experiences and perspectives. The topics we have covered are so important for all mikveh ladies, including hearing from psychologists training us on communication skills, OCD, doctors teaching us about breast cancer, cervical cancer and anything medical concerning women. They have also taught us how to communicate sensitively to women who may have experienced abuse of any kind and how to read the signs

Despite being a Mikveh lady for many years, I am enjoying the education I am receiving from the Eden Center. Mikveh is often a sacred space where women open their souls to the Mikveh lady, so I am grateful for the chance to learn, study and increase my skills. It is an opportunity I feel blessed to receive and cannot wait to see where it takes me!

About the Author
Timmy Rubin OAM, is a community stalwart and has been a Mikveh lady at Australia's largest Mikveh for many decades.
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