Recorded live on Zoom in October of 2020, “When the Mikvah Water Touches Your Black Hair” appeared in our special Salon show I Am a Jew, which was performed as part of our Bat Mitzvah celebration when we opened our 13th season.
The mikvah (Jewish ritual bath) can be a transformative and cleansing experience for those who submerge themselves in the holy water. But for Shekhiynah, who is set to take her final steps in converting to Judaism by entering a mikvah, it brings fear, anxiety and self-doubt. Shekhiynah is a black woman with black hair who must undo all of her braids and let her hair be free in order to enter the water.
Will she get judgemental looks at the community mikvah? Will the council of rabbis change their minds once they catch sight of her unkempt afro?
So many Jews of Color struggle with this same fear and anxiety of standing out in the crowd, unable to appear as “typical” Jews. But inclusion is also something that the Jewish community can be known for. Watch the above story to find out what happens for Shekhiynah…
“When the Mikvah Water Touches Your Black Hair” first appeared in Jewish&, a blog by Be’chol Lashon. Written by Shekhiynah Larks. Performed by Charlotte Williams Roberts.