Given the history of othering and control of women’s bodies, it may surprise you to learn that the mikveh has become a central site of Jewish feminist, and more recently, queer and trans activism. Across the United States, Canada, and Israel, participants in a grassroots Modern Mikveh Movement have been collectively reclaiming what many have considered to be among the most irredeemable misogynistic forms of bodily disciplining.
Contemporary rabbinic authorities have established this religious obligation as carrying scriptural authority – citing no fewer than five affirmative Commandments and three Biblical prohibitions.
I thank both Timothy Simpson for taking the time to respond to my post and the current editors of Political Theology Today for allowing me to respond. It is an uncomfortable issue for people on all sides of the debate. I can only imagine the frustration wrought by “having been the target of barbs by both Christian and Jewish Zionists.” If my tone is irenic, I can only be glad; I do not desire to be the cause of frustration (even at those moments when I feel frustration). If Rev. Simpson views my tone as irenic, I find the content of his response to be ironic.
I wish to thank Dr. Bernstein for his thoughtful and irenic response to “Zionism Unsettled” (hereafter, ZU). . . . ZU is indeed a hard-hitting document. It says things many people would rather not have discussed and calls out both Jewish and Christian Zionists for their contribution to the misery and suffering of the Palestinian people. Such a resource, which could be utilized at the congregational level, was sorely needed. The Israeli occupation began in 1967, when I was four years old. I’m now a grandfather, and yet it still continues.