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The Beginning of the Journey: A Mikveh Immersion Ceremony for Rosh Hashanah

It is a longtime Jewish tradition for Jews to immerse in the mikveh (ritual bath) before the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. As we begin the process of t’shuvah (return, repentance) we invite you to ask: What does the spirit of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur look like to you? What are you ready to let go of from this past year? What are you bringing with you in to the New Year? Perhaps you’ll find these answers in the warm waters of the mikveh.

Shed your struggles, turn to forgiveness, and emerge from the living waters with an open heart for the new year ahead.

Kavanah (intention)
To be read before preparing for immersion:

Water is God’s gift to living souls,
To clear us, to purify us,
To sustain us and renew us.
As I immerse myself in mayim hayyim, living waters,
I begin a new cycle in my life.
May my entry into the waters of the mikveh
mark the beginning of the journey that lays ahead.

T’vilah (immersion)
To be read at the mikveh’s edge before you enter the water:

May I begin this year fresh and open to the possibility of transformation.

FIRST IMMERSION
Slowly descend the steps into the mikveh waters and immerse completely so that every part of your body is covered by the warm water. When you emerge, recite the following blessing:

Barukh atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melekh ha’olam asher kidshanu bi-t’vilah b’mayyim hayyim.

Though the future is uncertain, I release this past year with all its diªculties and joys.
I open my heart to receive the blessings of the New Year.

SECOND IMMERSION
Take a deep breath and exhale completely, while gently and completely immersing for the second time. When you emerge, recite the following:

Hashiveinu Adonai, eilekha v’nashuvah.

Turn us to You, Adonai, and we shall return.

May I return to my true self and be strengthened as I continue my journey of tikkun halev—repairing the heart, tikkun hanefesh—repairing the soul and tikkun olam—repairing the world.

THIRD IMMERSION
Take a moment for personal reflection. Relax, and let your body soften, as you slowly and completely immerse for the third time. When you emerge, choose one of the following prayers:

A Full Life
O Life of the world
Grant me a full life—
A life which may be considered long
Because it has been filled with
Right living
And considered rich
Because it has been filled with
Holy acts

Hashiveinu Adonai, eilekha v’nashuvah.

Prayer for the New Year
May it be Your will, Majestic Spirit of the universe,
to grant us,
all your people Israel and all the world
A year of blessing,
A year of prosperity,
A year of peace and tranquility.
Show us your compassion
And guide us in your ways.


Mayyim Hayyim's Ritual Creation Team has developed a library of original ceremonies to help personalize your mikveh experience.

Every ceremony includes a pre-immersion kavannah (intention), blessings or kavannot (intentions) to follow three immersions, and a concluding reading. Ceremonies may include songs, contemporary poems, and traditional liturgies. They can be read privately, with the assistance of a Mikveh Guide, or with friends and family. Below is a PDF of the Rosh Hashanah ceremony.

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