Rachel’s Well – A space to consecrate and celebrate

As a mikvah guide, I have become friendly with a hidden jewel in our community – Rachel’s Well Community Mikvah.
The class of mikvah guides I initially studied with was taught by Caron Blau Rothstein, Sarah Evans, Naomi Malka and Ronnie Malka. The all-day class occurred the day after the neo-Nazi parade in Charlottesville. There was a heightened sense of the preciousness of our gathering. 
It was purposeful, coordinated and included 30 (or more) people from across the Jewish denominations. It was unlike any other Jewish gathering I had attended – women with a sheitel (wig) shared the table with a woman with spikey purple hair. It was a preview of the inclusion that the mikvah embodies.
Pre-Covid, I attended a Sephardic bridal shower at the mikvah with the bride’s elegantly dressed family and friends, who played music from their phones, ululated ecstatically, circle-danced and noshed on fabulous pastries in honor of the marriage. 
The simcha’s energy inspired me with the vast range of possibilities for using the mikvah as ritual space.
The mikvah welcomes whoever visits, wherever they are on their life’s journey – whether a great achievement or celebration, a threshold moment or a loss.
Think of a threshold moment as one when a person is going from one state of being to another.
I often think of threshold moments as mezuzah moments. (I’m sure I got this idea from some wise person in the Jewish world.) They are moments where we pay attention to the transitory nature of existence and acknowledge and consecrate the change as it is happening. 
Over the years since that first training to be a mikvah guide, my older son, Gabriel, has heard me say, “I’m leaving to go and guide a mikvah,” and he would ply me with hugs and see me on my way without much questioning. 
This year his interest was piqued. 
Gabriel came up with the idea of going to the mikvah to celebrate his seventh birthday.
My husband, Brian, and I added the fact that Gabriel is now big brother to 8-month-old Charlie as another reason for him to celebrate. To our own celebratory list, Brian and I added that we are now parents to two children.
The morning before we went to the mikvah, our home was abuzz with the energy that comes before a ritual. 
We were in full preparation mode, gathering our towels and clothing as well as bathing (which is required during Covid times). 
With our hair wet and smiles on our faces, we drove to Rachel’s Well. 
Brian had enjoyed using the mikvah before, but to Gabriel it was all new, so he got the grand tour.
The mikvah process began hours before, and when the moment finally arrived, the water was soothing and warm.
Baby Charlie was thrilled in the warm water; he kept splashing the surface with his tiny hands outstretched, giggling and smiling. Gabriel was beaming and relaxed.
We said the traditional prayers as well as a prayer from the collection of Mayyim Chayim life-cycle rituals available in the lobby for all guests, and we dunked.
Then we shared our gratitude for Gabriel and his simchas and for our mutual joy as a family.
Brian remarked that he wants to return every month as a regular practice. 
Gabriel shared how awesome visiting the mikvah was for him and asked to visit again.
For me, I got to introduce my people to one of my favorite sacred spaces in Oregon.
It was a remarkable way to consecrate our child’s special moment and give that joy a container that he can return to at his threshold moments from now on. 
I invite you to visit Rachel’s Well to mark a holy moment in your life! To learn more and request an appointment, visit 



Add Comment

Wonderful! Todah for your service Srah.