Demand for mikva'ot spikes among European Jewry

Spiritual head of Lodz's Jewish community: In recent years many local Jews have "come out of the closet."

By MATTHEW WAGNER
January 29, 2007 17:28
1 minute read.
Demand for mikva'ot spikes among European Jewry

mikvah 298.88. (photo credit: Matthew Wagner)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

A Jewish spiritual renewal is fueling a demand for mikvaot across Europe, according to Rabbi Gedalia Olshtein of the Council for European Rabbis (CER). In Poland alone plans are underway to refurbish or build mikvaot in Krakow, Lublin, Warsaw, Wrociaw and Lodz. Demands for ritual baths have come in from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Britain, the Czech Republic, Russia, East Germany and Georgia. "The mikve is seen as a very spiritual custom with almost kabbalistic aspects to it," said Olshtein, an Israeli who travels all over Europe providing professional and halachic advice on how to build ritual baths. "A lot of European Jews who are new to Judaism are searching for the spiritual experience of immersion in a mikve." According to Jewish law, sexual relations between husband and wife are forbidden after menstruation until the wife immerses herself in a kosher mikve. Mikve water must not be pumped. Rabbi Simcha Keller, 44, spiritual head of Lodz's Jewish community since 1993, said that in recent years dozens of local Jews have "come out of the closet." "I first started with about 60 Jews whose average age was about 80," said Keller, speaking by telephone from Poland. "Today we have 300 people, 90 percent of whom are locals, with an average age of 50." Keller said that as the Lodz community grew and offered more activities, many Jews who had previously kept their religion a secret "came out of the woodwork." Olshtein said that over the past three years since he began working with the CER he has seen a rise in the demand for mikvaot in Europe. "Jews are definitely looking for more spirituality," he said.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery

By JPOST.COM STAFF