Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mikvah Ladies in a Post-Denominational World

Ima Shalom is a friend and former neighbor, self-described as a “work-at-home-stay-at-home mom living the post-denominational life with her son and Orthodox husband.” About 6 months ago, when her baby was 9 months old, she started a collaborative blog with several other Jewish mothers of young children. It’s a really lovely effort. The reason that I mention it today is that yesterday she wrote a post that I think several of my readers will find interesting. The post talks about her recent invitation to help coordinate the schedule at the local mikvah.

This is particularly interesting in light of the shul politics of the area where she lives... There is a substantial constituency of people there who are active in both the orthodox shul and in (a) the local post-denominational egalitarian minyan and/or (b) the local partnership minyan. The people in this situation have been explicitly excluded from serving as mikvah attendants lest their (varying levels of) egalitarian practice imply loose observance of niddah and thus taint the mikvah. (The ortho shul has also taken issue with men who participate in these minyanim, but that is not the subject of this post.) Anyhow, interestingly enough Ima Shalom attends the ortho shul (where her husband is very involved and respected) and both of the above-mentioned minyanim. As she notes, being a mikvah scheduler is an important way for her to participate, even if she cannot serve as a mikvah attendant. Anyhow, you should read her post. And, if you’re interested, check out her blog regularly.


Aliza said...

what's a partnership minyan?

Sunkist Miss said...

what's a partnership minyan?

Good question. First of all, I've just amended the post to include a link to JOFA's page on partnership minyanim.

Basically they are minyanim that are attempting to be both halachic and egalitarian to the extent possible while still relying on traditional halachic sources (so women may lead kabbalat shabbat, psukei d'zimra, and torah service -- but not maariv, shacharit, musaf, etc). They count a minyan as 10 men, or as 10+10.

For much more on this subject you should check out Elf's DH's recent post on the topic.