It was important to me to look like I took some time and had some consciousness about my appearance and the seriousness of the moment. I was going before my Beit Din just prior to immersion, and I was meeting friends later to celebrate for lunch—it was a really big day in my life, after all!
On the other hand, I realized that I would have to get in and out of these clothes, and would be a bit rushed and probably damp getting back into them after immersion. Ultimately, I realized I was NOT dressing to meet my maker, since the whole wonderful point of the mikvah is to meet my maker as I had been dressed for birth. That waylaid any concerns about needing to dress in a suit and tie with shiny black tie-up shoes. I suppose I ultimately dressed in what I would call “business casual” for lack of a better description. For me, that meant nice cotton khaki slacks, an oxford shirt (they dry quickly), a nice sports coat and loafers.
My actual experience in the mikvah was fantastic, and my Rabbi and the others on the Beit Din made it meaningful. I was allowed to invite very close family (three people) to the mikvah, and though they waited outside the tub area itself, they sang some niggunim and songs from the outer rooms with doors open so that I could hear them. It was a very powerful and beautiful experience to float in the water with the voices of my family and the Rabbis in the background. After the formal part of the process, I was told to spend some time in silence by myself reflecting on the moment. It was also very important to me to have had that moment of silence.
Also, I was treated to a very enthusiastic version of “Siman Tov and Mazel Tov” when I came out of the dressing room!
The Rabbi that convened my Beit Din was a woman, so she made sure that I had a man on the Beit Din to help me in the mikvah room itself. He had been the officiant for my Hatafat Dam Brit a few weeks earlier, but I knew him only slightly. At the mikvah, after the Beit Din approved me for conversion, he very thoroughly explained exactly what he was going to do, how he wanted me to cover my head for the prayers between dunks, and then gave me all the prompting I needed when I needed it. I was very glad that he did that, and it would have been great if he had done it a few days before. I was a bit nervous in the moment, and having at least heard what the actual ceremony would be like ahead of time would have helped as I could have prepared. I was a bit at a loss when every word of Hebrew suddenly seemed to have left my head.
The tachlichs thing that would have made a difference to me was if there had been a bit more coordination between my Rabbi and the mikvah manager, specifically around money. I would have been happy to come with a check in an envelope. As it was, it was odd to end my visit to the mikvah fumbling in the car to find my checkbook (which I fortunately had with me), then running back to write a check. It was a bit of a “clunk” in a wonderful day.
KM, male Renewal convert