informal Mikvah education at Jewish summer camps or outdoor programs
We are changing the way that Jewish communities learn about Mikvah and facilitating new experiences with the practice of ritual immersion.
Rooted in ancient Jewish traditions, we return to outdoor settings as meaningful places to explore Tevila.
We frame the ritual of Tevila and the practice of Mikvah from a body-positive angle, while showing and teaching respect for privacy.
Everyone can participate: counselors, art, nature, and inclusion specialists, song leaders, rabbis, and camp directors!
The only requirements are a body of water and abundant creativity!
Does your camp or outdoor program have a body of water?
That's all you need. Tevila b'Teva gives your staff
the tools, vocabulary, and knowledge to facilitate
meaningful immersions for your campers.
This is a bathing-suit on activity!
This is experiential Jewish education at its finest and a great way for Jewish camps to engage campers with questions like: How do we find Judaism in nature? How can we feel Jewish in our bodies? Couldn't all Jewish rituals be this fun?
Participants will explore texts about the power of water in Judaism and learn about how immersing in either an indoor Mikvah or a natural body of living water connects a body to the Source of Life. Key concepts include water in traditional Jewish sources, a Jewish view of nature, and the water cycle of our planet.
Use resources found in our natural environment to create a temporary structure that provides privacy and that delineates a sacred space during an immersion. Depending on the geography of your camp, this will vary from place to place.
Compose melodies for the immersion blessing in Hebrew and English. Use different media (calligraphy, wood carving, silk screening, etc) to incorporate the blessings into the space.
Participants experience the essence of Tevila--marking a transition from one state to another by immersing in living water—and connect this to other embodied rituals in Judaism.
A primary goal of Tevila b'Teva is to create memorable experiences in which the holiness of the body is clearly felt.
Participants connect life transitions--such as birthdays, anniversaries, b'nai mitzvah, arriving at or leaving camp, and other beginnings or endings--with the idea that Tevila is something that a Jewish person can do once, or periodically, or on a cycle.
We immerse to celebrate a simcha, to mark a transition, or to find strength during difficult times.
A secondary goal is to change the way Jewish communities educate future generations about Mikvah. Previous generations either avoided it altogether, defined it as a practice belonging to other communities, or made it unpleasant. We are here to change all of that!
The message of Tevila b'Teva is simple:
Your body is holy. Bodies of all ages, sizes, shapes, shades, abilities, genders, sexual orientations, and levels of observance can experience this holiness through Tevila.
Bring us to camp for facilitated consultations, demonstration immersions and staff training
The whole megillah. Bring Naomi and a co-facilitator out to camp and we do the demos, teach the songs, and lead as many training sessions as you want.
Schedule a day-long training in DC
Bring as many participants as you'd like to the Adas Israel Community Mikvah for a day-long program on how to creating meaningful outdoor experiences at your camp. Wrestle with the texts, learn the songs, watch a demonstration immersion (by someone in their bathing suit!), and discuss your camp's unique needs. You'll leave being able to facilitate Tevila b'Teva on your own.
Phone or Skype Sessions
Send us pictures of your waterfront and schedule 4 hours of phone consultation to discuss your camp culture and how to weave Tevila b'Teva into your summer offerings.
Since 2006, Naomi Malka has been the Coordinator of the Adas Israel Community Mikvah in Washington, DC. She trained as a Mikvah Guide at Mayyim Hayyim in Newton, MA in 2008 and is a founding member of the Rising Tide New Mikvah Network. She earned a masters in Jewish Music from the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in 2000 and a BA in Sociology from UCLA in 1991.
Naomi is also the creator of "Bodies of Water," an award-winning program that introduces kids ages 10+ to Mikvah as a tool for body positivity and healthy decision making from a Jewish perspective. Originally funded by Tikkun Olam Women's Foundation, "Bodies of Water" frames Mikvah along with Jewish yoga and mindful eating as simple tools for Jewish living.
Originally from Seattle, WA, she lead wilderness treks for Jewish teens in Northern California and spearheaded an annual camping trip for families for Rosh Hodesh Elul in Maryland. In spring 2010, Naomi served as the ritual consultant for Theater J’s production of the Israeli play “Mikveh.”
Naomi has a vision that one day in the near future Mikvah will be as common a Jewish practice as Shabbat and Kashrut. Just as Jews from very different backgrounds celebrate Shabbat and observe Kashrut in a diversity of styles, Mikvah too can be a creative and personal practice that varies greatly from one Jew to another.
She designed Tevila b'Teva to bring this message to the next generation of Jewish youth.