The good and bad of religously-mandated separation.

The plunge into Lake Superior was a certain kind of awakening. Cold. Shocking. Fresh. Every nerve ending tingling awake.

Last summer, three of my kids and my husband jumped from a 20-foot cliff into the ice-cold waters of our greatest lake, while my youngest son and I waded in slowly from the shore. The startling cold of the ice-melt lake lapping at our skin was enough to awaken from any slumber, be it metaphorical or literal.

In a way, it was what mikvah (the Jewish ritual bath) was supposed to be like so many years earlier, during the decade I spent as an Orthodox Jew.


Back then, I followed the marital laws of niddah religiously, withdrawing from sex and any touch between husband and wife from the day my period began until it ended, plus another full week for good measure. We slept in separate beds (we kept a twin bed in the corner of our bedroom for this purpose; I claimed the king, since I was the one being banished, and sent my husband to the “niddah bed.”). 

RELATED: What It’s Like To Have Two Husbands — Oh, And Two Wives

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