Queer Mikveh Project
You are invited! NODAPL QUEER JEWish RITUAL, this Sunday at 4:00pm at the Albany Bulb beach, Albany, California
Let’s join together in beautiful resistance to the once again ongoing threat of the Dakota Access Pipeline using Jewish ritual. This is a transitional ritual. The intention is to usher in the transition through prayer and ritual -- from a capitalist, fascist centered policy to a liberatory, earth and people centered policy and the end to the Dakota Access Pipeline. All queer Jews and anyone else who feels called to this ritual are welcome to join! Please read through this entire document if you want to attend (so you know what you’re getting into ;)
Things to know and order of ritual:
We will begin the ritual at 4:00pm, it will be short and sweet, ending by 5pm (at the latest!). The first part of the ritual will be dry and involve an honoring of Ohlone land, singing, burning of cedar, prayers, altar building and a collective meditation.
The mikveh (immersion in water) is completely optional (as is how much clothing you choose to keep on or take off). We will begin the mikveh with a “sound mikveh,” creating healing with the water in our breath to make healing sound. This will usher in those who wish to completely or partially immerse in the ocean (the ultimate mikveh that becomes a mikveh when we intend it to be so).
The mikveh will be the absolute last part of the ritual so you can get in warm clothes and cars immediately afterward. Please bring extra towels and warm drinks!
We are MAKING A FILM! So this ritual will be filmed. If you’d like to come but don’t want to be filmed we can arrange that. We will have consent forms for the film. (more info on the film below)
Accessibility: The Albany Bulb has accessible by wheelchair parking and from there a wheelchair accessible path partially to the beach. There is a distance of 100 feet or so from the path to the beach through the sand and dirt. If you need assistance joining the ritual please let us know and we will do anything we can to make sure you can join the ritual.
What to bring:
Warm clothes, towels, warm drinks
Items for the altar from your cultural background (please do not bring appropriated items from cultures that are not yours).
Your spirit of love, healing and resistance.
Why the Albany Bulb?
The Albany Bulb is a place that was created out of trash and transformed into beautiful resistance and art by houseless people for decades. Now these people who made it their home and community have been violently forced to leave. For many hundreds of more years, the Ohlone people who are indigenous to this land have had their land stolen from them. Most of us are guests here. We honor the history of the Albany Bulb as land that has been reimagined and created in beautiful resistance as well as destroyed and dishonored many times over.
What is a mikveh?
A mikvah is an ancient Jewish ritual water immersion commonly used for conversion to Judaism, for brides, and for niddah, the practice of cleansing after menstruation. For Jews, water signifies the transformative movement from slavery in Egypt, through the parted Red Sea, and into freedom. Entering a mikvah is a transformative and healing experience and we have long wondered why it is not available to more people, including the significant transgender and queer populations in Jewish communities.
What is a queer mikveh? (working definition, we welcome feedback!)
A physical or spiritual space that uses the technologies of water and the Jewish practice of mikveh to mark transitions. Transition to be interpreted by individuals and individual ritual. Queer mikveh in it’s essence honors the story of the water. The historical stories of the water we immerse in, the stories of our own bodies as water and the future story we vision. Queer mikveh is accessible physically and spiritually to any and all people who are curious about it. You don’t have to be a practicing Jew to enter Queer mikveh. You don’t have to be Jewish. It is an earth and water honoring ritual. It honors the land it is on as intentionally using queer mikveh for healing colonialism. Queer mikveh is a ritual of Jews in diaspora. We believe the way we work for freedom for all beings is by using the gifts of our ancestors for the greatest good. We bring our rituals as gifts. It acknowledges that our path is to live on lands that are not historically our peoples and we honor the indigenous ancestors of the land we live on, doing mikveh as an anti-colonialist ritual for collective and personal liberation.
Who we are:
We (Rebekah Erev and Chani Bockwinkel) are researching queer mikveh that already exist and visioning and creating new experiences of queer mikveh by making a participatory documentary film. To us, a queer mikveh welcomes anyone, regardless of spiritual background or not ---- to join in using this Jewish water ritual technology. As Jews in diaspora we want to share and use our ritual practices for healing the land and waters we are visitors on for the liberation of all beings.