For millennia, the mikveh was the pivotal institution for Jewish women, and considered central to Jewish family continuity. It provided women with a sense of connection and time for introspection and spiritual intimacy. Today, however, mikveh has lost meaning for many women and has even become a source of discomfort and alienation. Even among traditional and religiously committed women, research shows that increasing numbers stop immersing after negative experiences. The disrepair of many mikvaot in Israel sends the implicit message that Jewish women are not valued. Moreover, many non-religious women, who encounter the mikveh as a state-ordained marriage requirement, become hostile toward Judaism and religious authority as a result of their experience. This makes Eden’s mission to make mikveh welcoming and relevant for modern women all the more imperative. The Eden Center imagines the mikveh as a focal point for addressing a variety of dynamics related to the Jewish woman and family, including but not limited to:
- Promoting tolerance and inclusiveness;
- Promoting women’s mental and physical health;
- Using the mikvah as a tool that connects women to sources of support within the community
- Empowering women and enabling meaningful religious, spiritual and personal experiences;
- Increasing public awareness of issues of women’s health and women’s well-being, including encouraging the intimate female voice in the context of marital relationships;
- Allowing all women to experience an intimate and meaningful experience of immersion in a way that is appropriate to her.
The Vision Behind The Eden Center
The Eden Center was born as result of 20 years of research, in which I learned that too often the mikveh is a place of pain rather than the empowering resource it ought to be. Women from all walks of life use the mikveh — more than 750,000 immersions every year in Israel alone — and in the course of life, they may experience challenges with fertility or miscarriage, postpartum depression, sexual issues or changes in their body that affect their own self image and their intimate relationship.
I asked myself: How, and where, are we able to hold those moments? What resources can we give women that can help them heal, that can actually rejuvenate them spiritually and emotionally?
Our goal at Eden is to infuse this ancient ritual with contemporary relevance and to transform the mikveh into that place of well-being, healing and embrace, with appreciation for the needs of women today.
I invite you to look through our website, learn about our programs, join the conversation on Facebook and stay up to date on exciting developments within our organization by joining our mailing list. Together we can create a more meaningful mikveh experience for today’s Jewish women.
Dr. Naomi Marmon Grumet,
Founder and Executive Director of The Eden Center
Dr. Naomi Marmon Grumet
Founder and Director
Naomi has a PhD in Sociology. Her research is the catalyst upon which the Eden Center was founded and propels our vision and programming.
Head Facilitator, Mikveh Attendant Training Program
Lizzie Rubin is an individual, couples and sex therapist with special training in abuse, postpartum depression, pre-weds and newlyweds.
Dr. Judith Fogel
Program Coordinator, Advanced Kallah Teacher Training Course
Judith has a PhD in Human sexuality, is a certified Yoetzet Halakha and veteran kallah teacher.
Dr. Dan Jacobson
Hatan Teacher Training Course Facilitator
Dr. Dan Jacobson is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Jerusalem and Gush Etzion.
Coordinator of Intimacy and Halakha Courses
Jodi Wachspress is a sex therapist and runs a private practice in Modiin.
Dr. Hagit Rodrigues Garcia
Mikveh Attendant Program Coordinator, Golan
Hagit Rodrigues Garcia has a Ph.D. in Social Work and is an intimacy and sexual health counselor.
Aurital has many years of experience in non-profit management and events coordinating.
Dr. Sharon Galper Grossman
Director of Community Health Programming
Sharon is is a Harvard-trained radiation oncologist with a Masters in Public Health. She is a graduate of Matan’s Morot L’Halakha.
Board of Directors
Chair of the Board
Idit is a senior lecturer and director of the excellence program at the Hartman Institute and a member of the Ginot Ha’Ir community council’s Board of Directors.
Abba is the founder and dean emeritus of Machon Tal. A native of Cleveland, Abba is currently involved in creating a special army unit for religious females who want to serve in full army duty in high-level academic fields.
Deena is an editor and consultant in private practice. Her services are used by many universities, non-profits, and publishing houses, including Hebrew University, Koren Publishers, Bar-Ilan University, and Ne’emanei Torah Va’Avodah.
Rachelle is the Deputy Director of the Rehabilitation Department at Alyn Hospital.
Ayala is a founding co-chair of Shira Hadasha’s Kehilla Tomechet, a voluntary organization for members’ mutual support in Jerusalem’s first Orthodox egalitarian minyan. She presently works in the Jewish Agency.