Mikveh (ritual bath) immersion is an ancient practice that honors the sacred nature of our experiences and our bodies. Immersions can mark life transitions such as weddings, births, healing from illness or trauma, significant birthdays, b'nei mitzvah, divorce, pregnancy loss, fertility struggles, and mourning.
One of our trained mikveh guides will welcome you at the mikveh and facilitate a supportive, safe immersion experience from start to finish. We do not have our own ImmerseNYC mikveh yet but our guides are able to facilitate immersions at a mikveh in Manhattan and a mikveh in Westchester. In addition, we provide suggested readings blessings and a framework for your ritual.
About Mikveh Guides
ImmerseNYC Mikveh Guides facilitate the community mikveh immersion process, from first contact at the mikveh through preparation, immersion and post-immersion reflection. They offer Jews, or those becoming Jews, a personal and spiritual experience to recognize and honor life’s transitions. Mikveh guides are an extraordinary group of volunteers with a range of backgrounds and experiences. What they hold in common is their commitment to providing a compassionate presence for your ritual. Guides are selected and trained by ImmerseNYC staff and give their time and expertise as an act of sacred service. When you schedule an immersion, we can help match you with a guide who has particular knowledge of your needs and you can also request a specific guide if you would prefer.
The Immersion Process
- Contact our Immersion Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) to set a day and time for your immersion with an ImmerseNYC mikveh guide. Immersion appointments can be made for Tuesday or Thursday evenings (after sundown, varies by season) or Thursday mornings (9:00am-11:00am). All of our immersions are by appointment only. You can also use our online booking form.
- The mikveh where we guide immersions charges $30 for an evening immersion and $60 for a daytime immersion. ImmerseNYC does not charge for immersions, however we appreciate any donations as we are a small non-profit organization.
- If you are coming with friends or family to support you, please note that these immersions must be scheduled for morning appointments, as the mikveh is too crowded in the evenings to accommodate groups.
At the Mikveh:
- You will meet the ImmerseNYC Mikveh Guide in front of the mikveh and walk into the building together.
- The ImmerseNYC Mikveh Guide will help you get checked in at the mikveh, where you will pay the mikveh. They take cash, check, or credit cards. ImmerseNYC does not charge for immersions. The mikveh will assign you to an individual preparation room. Depending on how busy the mikveh is, you may have to wait for a room to become available.
- Before entering the room, you’ll have a chance to introduce yourself to your Mikveh Guide. The Mikveh Guide is there to support you and facilitate your immersion as you wish. You can share as much or as little of your story as you’d like, and together you can create an immersion ritual.
- A suggested practice is to say one kavannah, intention, before immersing. You can say something from your heart or choose something from one of the pre-written rituals. Some people just say something they want to experience in the mikveh. Your guide can also read something for you, if you’d like.
- You can also frame your immersion with the following:
- Before the first dunk: Think about where are you coming from/what do you hope to leave behind in the mikveh waters.
- Before the second dunk: Think about where you are now.
- Before the third dunk: Think about where you hope to move forward to/what you hope to take out of the mikveh with you.
- You may choose a song for you and/or your guide to sing as you descend.
- You can choose to go in the mikveh room with your guide, friends or family, or alone.
In the Preparation Room:
- Once you’ve decided what the immersion will consist of, you will go into your private preparation room to undress, bathe, and spiritually prepare yourself for immersion. The preparation rooms are very comfortable and have everything you would need—robe, towels, combs, shampoo, soap, toothbrush, contact lens solution, bathtub, shower, hair dryers, etc. If you have specific toiletries you would like to use, you are welcome to also bring those along.
- You can use the ImmerseNYC Guide for the Preparation Room if you find it meaningful. This is a guide for your physical and spiritual preparations for you to go through before you immerse.
- When you’re ready, you can put on the robe or towel in the preparation room and meet your Mikveh Guide at the door. You will then walk down a short hallway together to the mikveh.
In the Mikveh:
- If your Mikveh Guide is with you, they will hold your robe or towel as you go down the steps into the water. They will hold the towel in front of their eyes, so they are not seeing you undressed.
- When you are ready, immerse. It is an option to have your guide say “kosher” when you emerge to indicate that you were fully under water after each immersion. If they are confirming this for you, they will lower the towel only when hearing the water splash.
- It is customary to immerse three times, but you can do it however many times you’d like. You or your guide can say something each time or you can immerse in silence or song. Before your last time, it is suggested to say an intention for what you want to either leave behind or take with you or any other kind of blessing you desire.
- Once you are finished immersing, you can stay in the mikveh for as long as you like. Your guide can leave you alone or stay in the room – let them know which you prefer. When you are ready to get out, your guide can help you back into your towel or robe and walk you back to the preparation room. Take the time you need as transition is a precious opportunity for holiness.
- The Mikveh Guide will walk you back to your preparation room, where you can get dressed and ready to leave. There are hair dryers in a shared room upstairs at the mikveh that you are welcome to use.
- The Mikveh Guide will walk you out of the mikveh.
May you be blessed with what it is that you most need.
Email Leah Spigelman (email@example.com), ImmerseNYC Immersion Coordinator for more information.