@MrsToB: I went to a mikvah for my conversion. After meeting with the bet din, I changed into a bathrobe in a small suite. To be immersed in a mikvah, you have to be entirely naked: no underwear, no makeup, no jewelry. I removed my earrings and wet my hair, to make the immersion easier. The mikvah was at the end of the suite, where two male rabbis stood outside a closed door with an intercom turned on, so they could hear me while preserving my modesty. A female rabbi went into the mikvah with me and turned around when I removed my bathrobe. I slowly walked down the steps of the mikvah and into the water.
On the wall, there was a large plaque with the three prayers I was going to say:
Barukh atah Adonai Elohenu melekh ha’olam asher kideshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al ha’tevillah.
(Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us regarding immersion.)
Barukh atah Adonai Elohenu melekh ha’olam shehecheyanu vekiyimanu vehegianu laz’man hazeh.
(Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, who has given us life, sustained us, and brought us to this joyous time.)
Sh’ma Yisrael Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ehad.
(Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.)
I decided to sing them, as I thought it would help with my nerves. After singing the prayers, I immersed myself by ducking into the water and lifting my feet, so I was almost floating. Once I rose out of the water, I was officially Jewish. The rabbis all loudly sang a celebration song, before the female rabbi left to give me a moment alone in the mikvah.
In the packet that the synagogue sent me to prepare me for the ceremony, it states:
Mikveh has the power to purify, restore, and replenish our spiritual lives. It can symbolize changes in our status, sacralize new beginnings, transform us, and help us to see ourselves in new ways. Above all, immersing oneself in the mikveh allows for a very personal, private meditative experience, a place to commune alone with God.
Standing alone in the mikvah, I put my head in my hands and cried, completely overwhelmed with emotion.
I would strongly recommend going to one!! 🙂