Sisterhood Blog

Sotomayor and the Mikveh

By Allison Gaudet Yarrow

  • Print
  • Share Share

The Sonya Sotomayor bashing has reached a despicable low.

It wasn’t enough that Newt Gingrich called her a racist. No, now conservative radio host and convicted felon, G. Gordon Liddy, is going after the Supreme Court nominee’s cycle. Not her bike, her monthly one — if, indeed, she is still menstruating. Liddy sounds like a befuddled schoolboy who just learned that men and women are built with separate sets of parts:

Let’s hope that the key conferences aren’t when she’s menstruating or something, or just before she’s going to menstruate. That would really be bad. Lord knows what we would get then.

Liddy’s consternation is a time machine ride back to the pre-feminist dark ages. We are not still shell-shocked by where babies come from, are we?

Mikveh-going women could contribute to this debate. A seeming impurity catchall for both sexes, the mikveh is halakhicly essential for conversions. It is also visited monthly by women who observe the laws of family purity; these women submerge themselves in the mikveh to clean themselves, physically and spiritually, post-menstruation — and ready themselves for sexual activity with their husbands. Some fans of mikveh believe it makes holy a woman’s cycle; some detractors feel it shames women into feeling that their body’s natural process is unclean. The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism writes that mikveh staff theorize that menstruation requires submersion because “it involves a brush with death — of the potential child that was not conceived.”

Menstruating women may give Liddy the heebie-jeebies, but Sotomayor, who would be the sixth Catholic on the Supreme Court, probably won’t be dunking anytime soon.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: mikveh, menstruation, G. Gordon Liddy, Sonya Sotomayor, Allison Yarrow

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.


Comments
yehudis Fri. Jun 5, 2009

I like how the theorists of the Conservative movement have come up with such a novel understanding of mikveh. Hello, it's right there in the Ohr HaChayim. Please study some Jewish texts.

SB in Brooklyn Fri. Jun 5, 2009

What a biased, left-wing "column." Hey, how about your review her judicial record - she doesn't treat everyone equally and we are going to put her in one of the most powerful positions in the world?

Last time I checked, policies that favor one race over another is racism, whether the affected race is black, white, etc. If she holds those beliefs as true, that by definition means she has racist tendencies.

Do some research before you spew ignorant comments that are supposed to pass for some kind of journalistic merit.




Find us on Facebook!
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.