Asthetics of the Mikveh
This artcile originally appeared in The Eden Center.
As an interior designer, I firmly believe that enhancing the look of a space will make it more inviting. Attention to small details will make a big difference. The Mikveh experience is much the same.
This mitzvah gives married women the opportunity to pause from our hectic lives and reflect on ourselves, our femininity, our individuality and our connection to Hashem.
As we immerse ourselves in the pure Mikveh waters, we feel a sense of freshness and newness. The experience, is a special, beautiful and spiritual one helping us to reconnect with Hashem, with ourselves and with our spouses. It is one of the foundations to creating a rejuvenating and exciting marriage as we have the opportunity to recreate a monthly renewal with our spouse.
The Mikveh should be a welcoming and appealing place for every woman. It's aesthetics are very important and plays a big part in how some women feel about fulfilling this important mitzvah.
It has been quite amazing to see the emphasis that has been placed on improving the cleanliness and aesthetic design of Mikvehs over the last number of years.
My experience in designing Mikvehs and participating in Yisrael HaYafa's yearly Mikveh competition has allowed me to share my design expertise and contribute to beautifying the aesthetics of the Mikveh and making them more appealing and inviting to women.
A women's first encounter to the Mikveh is its entrance. Exterior signage is important to facilitate a newcomers easy access. Proper lighting is mandatory. I recommend lighting leading up the walkway to the Mikveh as well as by the entrance to the Mikveh and specifically by the intercom. The aesthetics of the entrance will enhance a woman's first impression. Whether it's the addition of manicured greenery or a few potted plants by the entrance door, or even a framed Welcome sign - keep in mind that first impressions make a big difference.
The reception area is where a woman is welcomed to the Mikveh by a warm and smiling attendant. The waiting room is an area that women may have to wait a lengthy amount of time. It should have a comfortable seating area with a few accent pillows contributing to the warm feel of the area. Soft relaxing music will enhance the experience. It should also include a small kitchenette where tea and water are available and a bookcase or a couple of bookshelves stocked with a selection of interesting and inspirational books. A fresh coat of paint and accent walls can be transformative. Incorporate art, décor, fresh cut flowers and accent lighting complementing the general décor of the Mikveh.
The preparation rooms are a place where women can take their time to unwind from their hectic lives. It is the place for them to relax in the privacy of a softly decorated space. It is here that women can take the opportunity to pamper and prepare themselves physically as well as mentally before immersing. These rooms should be clean and comfortable. They should include all the necessary toiletries needed for the preparation process as well as hygienically disinfected utensils nicely laid out in a basket or tray. An upholstered bench or chair will be appreciated. Incorporate a small shelf with a few accent pieces, a framed mirror over the sink and a small tray to lay out ones jewelry. Soothing soft music, dim lighting and scented lit candles will add to the serenity and spa like feeling. Large plush towels or a robe contributes to a woman's modesty allowing women the privacy they desire.
Immersion in the Mikveh is the moment a woman awaits, restoring her spiritual purity. It's the ultimate moment of renewal. The Mikveh itself should be clean and beautifully designed. Beautify the Tefillot with frames or other creative solutions and allow women their quiet private time to pray for herself and her family.
The blow-drying and makeup area should be fully equipped with all the necessities encouraging a woman to take the few extra minutes to beautify herself. Hang a framed mirror over the makeup counter and provide proper task lighting. A full length mirror will also be appreciated.
The key to making the mikveh experience appealing and more inviting is to provide all of the necessities and amenities. An aesthetically pleasing Mikveh will make the overall experience a pleasant one, and contribute to the fulfillment of this important mitzvah.