MIKVAH

The Columbus Dispatch - - Front Page - For more in­for­ma­tion about the new mikvah or to do­nate to its con­struc­tion, call the Colum­bus Jewish Foun­da­tion at 614338-2365 or visit www.colum­bus­com­mu­ni­tymik­vah. dk­ing@dis­patch.com @DanaeKing

the most-reg­u­lar users.

“We hope peo­ple will use the mikvah a lot more,” said Devo­rah Lip­kind Weprin, co-chair­woman of the Colum­bus Com­mu­nity Mikvah’s build­ing com­mit­tee. “The way it looks, the way it feels, it re­ally fos­ters that ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The 5-foot-deep pool will be filled with rain­wa­ter, col­lected and stored for this use, and will have a sta­teof-the-art fil­tra­tion sys­tem, Lip­kind Weprin said.

Go­ing to a mikvah is a per­sonal, pri­vate ex­pe­ri­ence that in­volves hav­ing a con­nec­tion to the wa­ter, to na­ture and to God, Jewish lead­ers said, as peo­ple im­merse them­selves in the mikvah’s wa­ter while wear­ing no clothes, jew­elry, makeup or even nail pol­ish.

The rea­sons for go­ing to a mikvah also can be very per­sonal and pri­vate, Lip­kind Weprin said. “It is used to mark a change in rit­ual sta­tus” or a tran­si­tion in life.

Women, for ex­am­ple, first go to a mikvah right be­fore mar­riage and then gen­er­ally once a month, a week af­ter their monthly cy­cle is over, to pu­rify them­selves be­fore they re­sume sex­ual ac­tiv­ity with their hus­bands, she said.

The prac­tice is based on a com­mand­ment in the To­rah, or Jewish Scrip­tures.

Men typ­i­cally go less reg­u­larly than women and do so out of cus­tom or tra­di­tion, rather than as part of a re­li­gious rule, Lip­kind Weprin said. For in­stance, some go af­ter sex­ual ac­tiv­ity or weekly af­ter Shab­bat.

Peo­ple might also go to a mikvah be­fore hol­i­days or if con­vert­ing to Ju­daism.

“It’s about spir­i­tual cleans­ing and re­newal and re­birth,” said Rabbi Avi Gold­stein of Beth Ja­cob Con­gre­ga­tion on the East Side, where the ex­ist­ing mikvah is lo­cated.

More re­cently, mik­vahs also have been used in more non­tra­di­tional ways, such as for healing af­ter di­vorce or to help those go­ing through a job loss, di­vorce or rape, said Rabbi Sharon Mars, se­nior rabbi at Tem­ple Is­rael, which is cur­rently host­ing ser­vices at the Colum­bus Jewish Com­mu­nity Cen­ter in Bex­ley as it pre­pares to move to a new lo­ca­tion.

Mars said she went to a mikvah af­ter hav­ing a mis­car­riage and has found that “just dip­ping in that tub can help you go on” with life.

“It can be enor­mously pow­er­ful, enor­mously healing,” she said.

The board needs to raise $190,000 more to­ward its $2.1 mil­lion goal, Lip­kind Weprin said. The to­tal cost in­cludes $500,000 to cre­ate an en­dow­ment fund for main­te­nance of the mikvah, which can be costly, she said. “The idea is we cre­ate some­thing sus­tain­able for gen­er­a­tions.”

Built in the early 1970s in the base­ment at Beth Ja­cob, the old mikvah is not as mod­ern or as spa­cious as the one be­ing built, Gold­stein said. It’s also not ac­ces­si­ble by the dis­abled.

Gold­stein said the lo­cal mikvah board will de­cide whether to keep the cur­rent mikvah open af­ter the new one is built, but he doesn’t see a rea­son for it to keep op­er­at­ing.

“This will ac­com­mo­date more peo­ple in a more prac­ti­cal way,” he said.

Cost to use the mikvah will be $250 a year or $25 for a one­time visit. Spe­cial oc­ca­sions may cost more.

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