About Our Community Mikveh:
Why do people come to the Mikveh?
Mikveh is an ancient Jewish spiritual practice, designed to help mark life’s significant transitions (read more about mikveh here).
Some traditional uses of the mikveh include: conversion to Judaism, preparation for a wedding or for becoming a parent, readying oneself for Shabbat or holidays, and taharat hamishpacha, the practice of monthly immersion following a woman’s menstrual cycle. In addition, people come to our Community Mikveh to give a sacred dimension to other significant personal milestones, including birthdays, professional and relationship transitions, graduations, recovery from serious illness, pregnancy loss/infertility, and more. We welcome you to call us at 310-440-1221 for a confidential conversation about the many uses of mikveh, to see if it is right for you.
Is the Mikveh clean?
Our Mikveh uses an advanced, natural salt filtration system that makes sure the water is consistently pure and clean. PH levels are checked weekly by a certified pool professional, who oversees that the mikveh meets the strictest cleanliness standards. In addition, the mikveh is drained and completely scrubbed down every three months, in accordance with California State health codes.
Is the Mikveh warm?
Our Mikveh is heated to a perfectly comfortable body temperature of 98F/36C.
Is the Mikveh kosher?
Yes. AJU’s Community Mikveh was designed by Rabbi Ben-Zion Bergman (of blessed memory), an internationally recognized authority in mikveh construction and longstanding member of the Conservative Movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards. It is currently under the halakhic supervision of Rabbi Daniel Shevitz, Professor of Talmud at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies.
Making an Appointment:
How do I make an appointment to use the Mikveh?
Scheduling an appointment is easy! Visit https://www.aju.edu/community-mikveh/schedule to arrange for a time that is convenient for you. Please feel free to call call us at 310-440-1221 or email us at mikveh [at] aju.edu with any questions.
Do I need to be Jewish to use the Mikveh?
Ritual immersions are for those who are Jewish or are coming for purposes of conversion. We welcome people from any religious background to visit the Community Mikveh for a tour and to support family and friends who are immersing.
Who can come to Mikveh? Can LGBTQ people?
We welcome people of all gender identities to use the Community Mikveh.
Can I immerse in the Mikveh if I am menstruating?
We ask that you refrain from immersion during menstruation. We understand that this can sometimes cause difficulty with pre-scheduled conversion appointments, and we will work with you to schedule a time to return after the conclusion of your cycle.
Can I immerse in the Mikveh if I have tattoos or piercings?
You may immerse with tattoos. With regard to piercings, the general principle is that nothing artificial should come between you and the water. If a piercing can be safely removed, it should be taken out prior to immersion. However, we understand that some piercings cannot be easily taken out without professional assistance. In these circumstances, please contact us 310-440-1221 or email us at mikveh [at] aju.edu to discuss.
Can I immerse in the Mikveh if I have gel or acrylic nails?
You are able to immerse with gel or acrylic nails, provided they are designed to stay on for 30 days or more. However, you must remove any nail polish before your immersion.
Who should not immerse in Mikveh?
We ask that immersion does not take place when you may have a communicable disease, sores, or open wounds. Please be responsible, respectful, and aware that other people will be using the space after you and reschedule an appointment if you have reason to believe you might be currently contagious.
What to Expect at Your Appointment:
What should I bring with me for my appointment?
We provide everything you will need. You may choose to bring flip-flops/shower shoes and your own toothbrush, if you prefer. If your immersion is for conversion, please make sure you bring any relevant documents to your appointment.
Can I get a tour when I arrive?
Yes, a Community Mikveh team member will be happy to show you and any guests around the space and answer questions before your immersion.
What happens when I arrive?
When you arrive at the Community Mikveh for your appointment a Mikveh team member will warmly greet you and offer to show you around the space. You will then be shown to our private changing area, where you will prepare for your immersion by thoroughly cleansing your body. Once you are ready, you will give a knock on the door to let your Mikveh guide known that you are prepared to begin. Preparing your body for immersion generally takes 5-10 minutes.
Will anyone be with me during the immersion? If rabbis and guests were invited, where do they stand?
A same-gender mikveh witness is typically present to ensure that the ritual is done correctly, meaning that the entire body, including hair, is immersed under the water, and to provide guidance and support through this sacred process. Mikveh witnesses ensure the modesty and privacy of the ritual by covering their faces as an individual enters or exits the water, and stand at a respectful distance from the mikveh, so they can only directly see the individual’s upper torso. While you can choose to have additional, same-gender guests witness your immersion, all opposite gender guests and rabbis will be behind an opaque curtain for the duration of the ritual.
Can two people use the mikveh at the same time?
Our Community Mikveh takes the Jewish value of tzniut (“modesty”) very seriously, and therefore only one person can enter the mikveh at a time. The exceptions are for a conversion of a child, in which one or both parents may enter the water in bathing suits to help facilitate that child’s immersion and for those with mobility needs who require assistance getting into or out of the pool.
How long does the immersion ceremony last?
Depending on the type of appointment booked, the immersion ceremony may last 15 to 45 minutes. Please check with the Mikveh team member about how much time you have allotted.
What happens after I finish immersing?
After the ritual, all guides, rabbis, and guests will exit the Mikveh and provide you with personal time to do additional immersions, offer prayers, or just enjoy the reflective silence of this sacred space. You will exit the Mikveh in privacy and return to the changing area to dry off before meeting any guests. Since, traditionally, one refrains from showering immediately after immersion, this takes no more than 5 minutes.
Am I able to choose my own blessings/readings?
When one immerses in the Mikveh, it is customary to recite blessings. A sample of the traditional blessings recited for conversion and other rituals is included here. If you would like to read additional blessings or reflections, you may choose from our extensive collection upon arrival or bring something with you.
Do you take walk-ins?
Our mikveh is appointment based to ensure that everyone has an unrushed, peaceful experience. However, if you are on campus and would like to stop in and see if we have availability, we will try to accommodate.
What is your cancellation and rescheduling policy?
We require 100% upfront payment to schedule an immersion. This payment is fully refundable up to two (2) weeks prior to the appointment date. Should you need to cancel less than 2 weeks before the appointment, you will be refunded the payment amount less 20%.
What if my question wasn’t answered?
If you have additional questions, concerns, or special needs that we did not address please contact our office at 310-440-1221 or by email at mikveh [at] aju.edu
, and one of our friendly and knowledgeable staff can help you.
Can any Rabbi use AJU Community Mikveh for conversion?
AJU Community Mikveh welcomes any ordained rabbi who is a member in good standing of one of the following professional rabbinic associations to utilize our Mikveh to officiate conversions:
- Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform)
- Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative)
- Rabbinical Council of America (Orthodox)
- Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (Reconstructionist)
- Alumni Association of the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College (pluralistic)
- International Rabbinic Fellowship (Modern Orthodox)
- Clergy and Alumni of the Academy for Jewish Religion, CA (pluralistic)
- Ohalah — for rabbis who received ordination from the Aleph Institute.
If you are unsure of whether your sponsoring rabbi is a member of one of these professional organizations, please ask them to reach out to us directly.