Monday, August 17, 2015

For transgender Jews, ritual bath is fraught with questions about inclusion

Converting to Judaism about a year ago, a transgender man in Washington asked his rabbi a pointed question about the last step in the process, which calls for dunking naked in a ritual bath.

Could he locate a transgender man to serve as the required witness for this immersion?[...]

The mikvah — most commonly used by traditional Jewish women to mark the end of their menstrual periods — is where a transgender person may first discover how a Jewish community treats its transgender members. [...]

Each mikvah witness must be a supportive person, said Berman — someone who “isn’t going to flip out when they see a body that might look different from what they would have expected.”

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