Jun 2009

To the Mikvah!

Rachel Tasch is an alumna of the Wexner Heritage Program from San Francisco, serves as President of Congregation Beth Am, a Reform community in Los Altos Hills, CA. She can be reached at rtasch@earthlink.net.

I was about to take on the most significant leadership role in my Jewish journey so far – President of a large congregation. So many logistical details – writing a speech, ensuring a 20% quorum for a contract vote, finding the perfect gift for the outgoing President.  But where was the religious component of this event? After all, I view this role as a sort of spiritual calling, but I didn’t know how to acknowledge that aspect. 

And then it was clear – I would go to the mikvah! I would reclaim and reinterpret the age-old ritual to mark this holy transition — from impure to pure, from fractured to healed, from board member to President. My rabbi accompanied me and composed a beautiful prayer for the moment, asking God for courage and strength (which I’ll need!) and that the work of my hands shall be for good and for blessing. As I immersed, I wasn’t quite sure what it would all mean. But as I emerged, I was filled with the inner calm and focus that comes from knowing you’re in the right place at the right time. 

The mayim chayim (living waters) of the mikvah may not still be on my skin, but they are flowing steadily though my neshama, my soul.