7/9/14

Shhh, Don't Tell Anyone. Deena Yellin Reviewed a New Book, "A Shark in the Mikvah"

I've taught classes at major state research universities where I described the practices of Jewish women's ritual immersions. As I recall my expositions always were met with amazed and confused stares and looks of "they-really-do-that?" disbelief on the faces of the students.

Deena Yellin wrote a nice review of an appropriately zany treatment in a new book of this idiosyncratic Jewish women's ritual of immersing in a mikvah bath each month prior to engaging in sexual relations. See her review and buy the book, There's a Shark in the Mikvah!: A light-hearted look at Jewish women's dunking experiences (Kindle).

But I really can't talk any more about this. Deena quoted me as I explained why we generally don't discuss this ritual.
...most women are hesitant to talk about any strange scenarios floating around at the mikveh because in their kallah classes before marriage they were taught to keep it all on the down low.

The tradition of silence about this subject is for good reason, said Rabbi Tzvee Zahavy of Teaneck, an author of several books about rabbinic Judaism and Talmud. “Sex is one of the most personal, sensitive and private domains of our lives, therefore we strongly agree by matter of social conventions to put some aspects of our lives off-limits to chit chat, gossip and public scrutiny.”

Nevertheless, the authors are gaining kudos for sharing the stories – some inspiring, some humorous and others downright embarrassing – to let veteran mikveh-goers know they are not alone and to encourage newbies to give it a shot.
Accordingly shh, please don't tell anyone about this review or book.

1 comment:

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