Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Today was a very satisfying day. We began the day with Rabbinic Practice, visiting the mikveh (ritual bath) at the University of Judaism. The campus is beautiful: it's up in the hills between L.A. and the Valley, and has magnificent views.

The mikveh itself was quite an experience. I am accustomed to very utilitarian mikvaot, with serviceable dressing areas, grim little rooms to bathe in, and a clean but spare pool. This one is quite beautiful: dark blue tiles line the mikveh itself, and there is a chrome railing all around the pool. The room is decorated in peaceful blue and white, and it does indeed look like it could be "the womb of the Jewish people."

Jews use this mikveh for many purposes: for taharat mishpacha (family ritual purity), for conversion, for marking important birthdays or life transitions, and for healing. The mikveh attendant is a remarkable woman who taught us a great deal about the meaning of this mitzvah.

Then we all piled back into cars to run back to school, in central L.A. In Bible class, we had a visiting lecturer, one of the candidates for the new Bible position. Among other aspects of their interview process, they teach a class to us. It's interesting to see all the different styles of teaching, but sometimes it is frustrating to spend so much precious class time on this!

My discovery for the day was a rabbi's manual from 1917, titled "The Minister's Manual." The Reform Movement has seen a lot of change in the last hundred years!

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