Abstract: This paper examines the role of ritual purification in the lives of female descendants of the Spanish crypto-Jews. For some descendants, the discovery of crypto-Jewish heritage has led to a desire to reclaim the Sephardic faith of their ancestors. At the heart of this reclamation process is the adoption and practice of Jewish rituals and customs. Among the rituals that have become especially important for female descendants is the act of ritual immersion. Through an ethnographic study of crypto-Jewish culture in the Americas, this research analyzes the role of mikveh in the lives of women who have chosen ritual immersion as a symbolic act of return to Judaism.
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies – Purdue University Press
Published: Oct 3, 1999
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