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 Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • 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.