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These issues become more pronounced while a woman is being treated for breast cancer, or after she has finished treatment. As she combs her hair to get rid of tangles, as per the custom, it may fall out.

Others see monthly mikvah as a powerful way to mark a transition between two states of being.That means being vigilant for everything from belly button lint to a stuffed nose and going head to toe to ensure no crevice or fold is forgotten. First, she lets acetone-soaked cotton balls rest on her nails.Now, she’s scraping away at what’s left of the polish with a pair of tweezers, chin on her knees. The room is warm, smells like flowers, and is full of every conceivable cleaning implement: drawers of pink razors, glass jars stuffed with Q-tips, a comb floating in shockingly blue Barbicide.In fact, the mikvah waters are often kept at body temperature and can feel womb-like, like a spiritual rebirth.Either way, for many Orthodox women in the United States, monthly mikvah is a part of life. Is her decades-long relationship with mikvah suddenly over? For many women, Goldberg included, chemotherapy for breast cancer means the end of their period.

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