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Before her diagnosis, Goldberg immersed every month out of obligation.

After her diagnosis, she had an out — but she didn’t take it.

The night before Goldberg began chemotherapy, her friend Chaya Topas invited her to Mikvah Chaim, one of a wave of new mikvaot reimagining immersion in the United States.

This mikvah revolution centers around mikvah, allowing patrons to come to the mikvah for any occasion that is holy to them, Biblically-commanded or not.

At traditional mikvaot, the spotlight is on a woman’s fertility and sexuality.

But for Jewish women with breast cancer, treatment means not only the end of their childbearing years, but also a deeply altered relationship to their physical and sexual selves.

An immersion in a mikvah, or Jewish ritual bath, is supposed to be an encounter with the divine, she says. But first, you have to make sure there is nothing between you and the water.Mikvah has traditionally been known as more of a utilitarian in-and-out chore than a personal or holy experience.Mikvaot are often built to be functional, not comfortable.In fact, the mikvah waters are often kept at body temperature and can feel womb-like, like a spiritual rebirth.Either way, for many Orthodox women in the United States, monthly mikvah is a part of life. Is her decades-long relationship with mikvah suddenly over? For many women, Goldberg included, chemotherapy for breast cancer means the end of their period.

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