By Chaya Houpt -- ראה עברית מטה
On Erev Yom Kippur this year in Toronto, there will be long lines at the women's mikvaot. "The atmosphere at the mikveh is one of hustling and bustling, everyone is in a rush; a good kind of rush, where we all feel a sense of urgency while waiting our turns for a room," says Diana Melnick, a high school educator and a kallah teacher. "However, once it's your turn, no one would dare to disturb you and you are free to be in the mikveh for as long as you need to daven."
Diana is one of many women who visit the mikveh during the day on erev Yom Kippur not as part of the monthly process of purification, but as a spiritual practice to prepare for Yom Kippur itself. In her community, as elsewhere, the local mikvaot have set open hours for this purpose. In Toronto, the practice is especially popular among Chassidic women, but the crowds there are made up of many types of women.