Why Immerse in the Mikveh?

Immersion in the mikveh (sometimes pronounced mikvah) actualizes the transition between the convert's old identity and his or her new one as a Jew.

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There is one exception to this general practice of placing the blessing before the
mitzvah--the immersion of a convert. The convert needs to recite the blessing after the immersion, not before. The reason is simple: One cannot declare "God commanded us"
if one is not commanded by God because he or she is not Jewish. The convert becomes a Jew only after the immersion is completed.

After the blessing, the convert immerses twice more and then leaves the mikveh.

A second blessing is required by most, but not all, authorities. It is called she'hecheyanu, and with it a person thanks God that He has enabled him to live to experience the greatness of this moment.

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Rabbi Maurice Lamm

Maurice Lamm is the author of many books, including The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning. He is the president of the National Institute for Jewish Hospice, and Professor at Yeshiva University's Rabbinical Seminary in New York, where he holds the chair in Professional Rabbinics. For years he served as rabbi of Beth Jacob Congregation, Beverly Hills, CA.