The House of Secrets: The Hidden World of the Mikveh
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The House of Secrets: The Hidden World of the Mikveh

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  21 ratings  ·  5 reviews
For Orthodox Jews, immersion in a ritual bath—the mikveh—is the cornerstone of family life and is central to Jewish women’s practice of their faith. Yet women from across the Jewish spectrum frequent the mikveh, often for surprising personal reasons. Roused by her own immersion experience, for years Varda Polak-Sahm, a secular Jew, patiently observed and interviewed women...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published August 1st 2009 by Beacon Press (first published July 1st 2009)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The House of Secrets, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The House of Secrets

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 44)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Sorqaqtani Beki
An awkwardly written (or maybe awkwardly translated, hard to tell), but interesting compilation of women's traditions, attitudes, and beliefs concerning the mikva. A refreshingly gynocentric look at Jewish religious experience.
Karen
This book was really interesting. My understanding of it was greatly enhanced by visiting a mikveh in Jerusalem on a recent trip - with a guide who counsels young brides.
Maggie Anton
I found the subject interesting, but this book was way too repetitious. How many times do I need to hear how a 2-week timeout from sex spices up marriage? I would have like to know more about the many secular women who are forced by the Israeli Rabbinate to use a mikvah before marriage, especially since the author starts out as one of these and it's clear that she doesn't go to the mikvah at other times. There could have a lot more discussion of her inner conflict - she seems to admire the women...more
Samira
I am tempted to list this book as "religious studies," but if I did, I would have to downgrade its rating. The book provided insight into the world of the Israeli mikveh. It did not have the analytical depth or engagement with scholarly literature that I would look for in a good ethnography, but it was not claiming to be anthropology or religious studies scholarship.
Becky
While parts of the book (which was actually based on her thesis) were interesting and useful, her research was limited to one mikveh and sparse interviews. This is a very secretive world, so any light shed on it is good reading, but I finished this with more questions than when I started it.
Lily
Lily marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2014
Siham Rannane
Siham Rannane marked it as to-read
Dec 28, 2013
Wendy
Wendy marked it as to-read
Mar 06, 2013
Jenn Jacoby
Jenn Jacoby marked it as to-read
Dec 19, 2012
Danielle
Danielle marked it as to-read
Nov 10, 2012
Mindy
Mindy marked it as to-read
Nov 01, 2012
Korri
Korri marked it as to-read
Sep 12, 2011
Tzipora
Tzipora marked it as to-read
Aug 14, 2011
Marya
Marya added it
Jul 28, 2011
Joyce
Joyce marked it as to-read
Jun 09, 2011
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Share This Book