You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share



The mikveh is a ritual bath designed for the Jewish rite of purification. The mikveh is not merely a pool of water; it must be composed of stationary, not flowing, waters and must contain a certain percentage of water derived from a natural source, such as a lake, an ocean, or rain.


Rabbi Moses ben Maimon ([jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:383]Rambam[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary]) was born in Cordova, Spain in 1138 and died in Fostat (old Cairo), Egypt in 1204. During his lifetime he traveled with his family from Spain to Fez, Morocco, where he studied medicine and practiced as a physician, and from there to [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:309]Erez Israel[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary], finally settling in Egypt, where he became the leader of the community. Maimonides’s vast legal and philosophical writings touch on many topics related to women and their status. Some of his restrictive and negative attitudes seem deeply influenced by the surrounding Muslim culture and women’s socio-economic status within that society. However, his strong philosophical rationalist belief system enabled him also to see women as beings with spiritual potential and at times motivated him to defend and improve their legal rights.

Bat Mitzvah revolutions and evolutions

Judith Kaplan (Eisenstein) made history 87 years ago today when she became the first American to celebrate a Bat Mitzvah. As the daughter of an innovative rabbi - Mordechai Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism- she benefited from his belief in egalitarianism and his willingness to challenge tradition.

Women's Tefillah Movement

Orthodox women’s [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:419]tefillah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] (prayer) groups consist of women who wish to maximize women’s participation in communal prayer while remaining within the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:317]halakhic[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] parameters of the Orthodox community, and so meet regularly to conduct prayer services for women only.

Turkey: Ottoman and Post Ottoman

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, far-reaching changes took place in the Ottoman Empire in the political, social and geopolitical spheres.

Sotah, Tractate

The Mishnaic Tractate Sotah, which appears in the Order of Women (Nashim), between Tractates Nazir and Gittin, deals mainly with the trial by ordeal undergone in the Temple by a sotah, a woman whose husband suspected her of adultery.


Sotah (beginning in Talmudic literature) is the term for a woman suspected of adultery, who must undergo an ordeal that will establish her guilt or innocence.


In the course of the second half of the twentieth century momentous changes in the status of women in the more developed societies also deeply impacted on Jewish women worldwide.This review deals with the presence and role of women in critical processes affecting world Jewish population between the 1950s and 2000 in the context of broader trends.

Seder Mitzvot Nashim

The title Seder Mitzvot Nashim (the order of women’s precepts) refers to the genre of literature in Ashkenazic and Italian communities, written in the vernacular. Such compositions explained the specifics of how women should observe the commandments that were particularly associated with them.

Ritual: A Feminist Approach

Because religious praxis involving material objects plays so major a role in Jewish religion, one of the most significant expressions of the creation of feminist Judaism and its influence on the Jewish people is women’s wide-ranging involvement in the full range of ceremonies that exist both within and beyond halakhah.


How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ritual." (Viewed on November 26, 2015) <>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Sign Up for JWA eNews


Discover Education Programs

Join our growing community of educators.

view programs