Will the mikveh ritual baths become a new Hollywood craze? Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey was spotted visiting a Brooklyn mikveh last week for a new television series.
Winfrey visited a Jewish ritual bath at Brooklyn Heights’ Congregation B’nai Avraham synagogue while filming an upcoming Hasidic-themed episode for her OWN network’s new show, Oprah’s Next Chapter.
The New York Post reported that Winfrey didn’t actually take a dip in the ritual bath, “She just wanted to see it and had the women give her a tour and explain the details of how it works," said Rabbi Aaron Raskin.
Raskin added that Winfrey’s camp contacted the synagogue a few weeks ago to ask about visiting the mikveh.
The rabbi said he did not need much convincing to open the synagogue’s doors to Winfrey’s cameras.
“Any opportunity that we have to make the Mitzvah of mikveh we’re happy to do so,” he noted.
“She did have security,” Raskin said, “And therefore, any room she was in, nobody was allowed to go into besides those who were doing the interview.”
Raskin said that during his own chat with her, their discussion naturally turned to religion. “She told me that she tries to be a channel to do God’s will in the world,” the rabbi said.
In addition to the mikveh, Winfrey visited neighborhoods in Crown Heights and Borough Park to learn more about the daily life of Hasidic Jews, the Chabad site Chabad.org reported.
She sat down with two Hasidic families, ate a traditional meal and talked about community affairs with five local women.
In the new TV series Oprah's Next Chapter, Winfrey searches for interesting stories and reports on them. It is set to premiere in January on her OWN network.