After months of waiting, women’s and kitchenware mikvahs now open

Mikvah now open
By Marshall Weiss, The Dayton Jewish Observer

Chana Fox, president of the Dayton Ritualarium Society

How long does it take to collect 1,200 gallons of rainwater?

In the case of the Dayton Ritualarium Society’s new mikvah facility on the grounds of Beth Jacob Synagogue in Harrison Township, it’s taken six months to collect that amount, which was necessary to open the women’s ritual bath, along with the toiveling pool, for immersion of new kitchenware.

According to Chana Fox, president of the Dayton Ritualarium Society, the women’s mikvah pool holds about 2,100 gallons of water: a combination of rainwater and city water.

Once the 1,200 gallons of rainwater had been collected in the bors (reservoirs), Rabbi Yirmiyahu Katz, the mikvah’s supervisor, came from Borough Park, N.Y. to oversee the filling of the pools.

“After the 1,200 gallons were collected,” Fox says, “there are two bors that are attached to the mikvah. One is called a mixing chamber, and that is the one they add city water to the bor directly, and then it overflows into the mikvah. And so, as it’s coming through that pipe in the wall, you’re getting a mixture of city and rainwater together.”

In accordance with halacha (Jewish law), a mikvah is a ritual bath where observant, married women cleanse themselves after the completion of their monthly cycle. The mikvah is also used for conversions to Judaism. Though not required by Jewish law, some men immerse themselves in the mikvah as a spiritual exercise.

Fox says there had to be a certain halachic volume of rainwater in the rain storage tank in order to open the mikvah.

The handicapped-equipped, spa-like 2,300 square-foot mikvah facility was designed with separate immersion pools for men and women, and separate entrances.

“And now, we’ve started the collection process for the 1,200 gallons of rainwater on the men’s side,” Fox says.

Until that collection is complete, men will continue to use the Ritualarium Society’s old mikvah in Dayton View.

Rosenberg Dayton Community Mikvah, housed in Singer Kolodesh Mikvah Building

“I’ve asked Rabbi Katz if we could temporarily let the men use the women’s side, and he said, ‘Absolutely not.’ He doesn’t want a man stepping into that water.”

At the beginning of January, women started using the new mikvah, Fox says.

“Everybody who has used it has been very, very satisfied and has said what a pleasure it is and how much nicer it is than the old one,” she says. “The preparation facilities, the bathroom with the jacuzzi: everything is very special and they’ve felt pampered. It’s so nice to take someone to the mikvah and have such a spiritual and relaxing experience.”

The Ritualarium Society will host an informational program about the mikvah, including a tour, on Sunday, March 15 at 10 a.m. For more information, call the mikvah at 278-2772 (Aquaspa).

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