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Of all the religious rituals in the world, one would think that the mikvah is distinctly Jewish. But that is no longer so. An interdenominational mikvah has opened up in Newton, Mass. It is not for women alone. Now men and children may participate. People are invited to celebrate all sorts of occasions in the warming waters: births, divorces, bar and bat mitzvahs, retirements, a new job. For our frequent contributor, Stanley Siegelman, such a historic development was just the sort of departure from the norm to evoke his unusual mix of Yiddish and English (Yinglish) to mark the occasion.

A Mikve Mayse

Nu, hert zikh tsu — me shpilt HaTikva,

Tsu yoyvlen yetst a naye mikve.

Vos operirt mit ofn tir,

Tsu vayber, mener, mir un dir.

Yo, kinderlekh kenen dortn geyn,

Mit zeyer mishpokhe. Herst? Umeyn!

Di vayber take kumen tsu,

Tsu ton “What they’re accustomed to.”

“Aza maykhl, Ikh bin zat,”

A vaybl zogt:”It hits the spot.”

“Es nemt skovrode fun mayne beyner,

“Vunderbar! A zelkhe un a zeyne!”

A mentsh vos shvimt in mikve vaser.

Iz gebentsht (un oykh a naser!)

Der mentsh ken zayn a man a froy,

A kleyntshik meydele, a “boy.”

M’ken a yontiv makhn yetst,

(Un efsher a bisl shpil un “jest.”)

Bar mitsve “boy,” bat mitsve moyd,

Kenen beyde shrayen, “I enjoyed.”

Zogt zi tsu im, un er tsu zi,

“We get along quite swimmingly.”

Der ger kumt tsu tsu shushken a sod,

Arayn in oyer fun zayn Got:

“Meg yeder eyner, young un alt,

Shepnnakhes dortn, gikh un bald!

Tsum sof, di mikve in der gas,

Makht undz bafridikt, gliklekh, nas!

A Mikvah Story

Blaring band! It plays “HaTikva,”

Launching a new kind of mikvah.

Whose doors are open to all Yids,

Females, males and even kids.

It’s turned tradition upside down,

This place where folks can tsuris drown.

The cleansing rite, once moribund,

Returns with splash no longer shunned.

Both genders hail its H2O,

Once governed by a monthly flow.

It soothes the breast and vents the spleen,

Allowing people to “come clean.”

Who takes this plunge is in the swim.

It can be “her,” it can be “him.”

Universal the equation,

Suitable for each occasion.

Celebrating a joyful marriage,

Mourning over a miscarriage.

Bat mitzvah girl, bar mitzvah boy,

May these facilities enjoy.

They’ll find new inspiration here,

While soaking up — the atmosphere!

Fresh proselytes here try immersion,

Celebrating their conversion.

May every boy and every lass,

Go “mikvah-ing” in Newton, Mass.

In brief, the mikvah’s heaven sent,

A current and flood-tide event.

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