mikveh

Local Rabbis Sweep The Mikvah For Bugs

In wake of ‘peeping rabbi’ scandal, synagogues here ramp up security.

10/28/2014
Staff Writer
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Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld, spiritual leader of Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, received an urgent phone call this week from a young woman in his community.

Mikvahs throughout the area are being checked for recording devices. Wikimedia Commons

An Alleged Victim Speaks

‘Even undressing in privacy of my own bedroom is difficult,’ conversion student says.

10/28/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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Many in the Jewish community seem to be transfixed at the moment with the ongoing voyeurism scandal concerning Rabbi Barry Freundel. A flood of articles has been published throughout the United States and Israel focusing on the details of the police investigation or debating mikvah politics and Orthodox Judaism. These are important issues, but they're a bit abstract. They can't answer the question of what it feels like to be a potential victim of Rabbi Freundel. What was it like to go through a conversion with him?

Stephanie Doucette
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'Peeping Rabbi': What To Do — And Not Do — Next

How Kesher is coping with issues of responsibility, shame and blame; Catholics share their experience.

10/24/2014
Staff Writer
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This past Shabbat, members of Congregation Kesher Israel filled the synagogue’s social hall for a synagogue-sponsored dinner. The meal, according to longtime congregant Elliot Lowenstein, was an ad-hoc attempt to pull together a community rocked by the arrest of their spiritual leader, Rabbi Barry Freundel, less than two weeks ago.

Congregants struggle to return to normalcy post 'peeping Rabbi' scandal. Via kesher.org
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Orthodox Women Vow To ‘Take Back The Mikvah’

Cite ‘peeping rabbi’ scandal as cause for a greater female role in Orthodox life.

10/22/2014
Editor and Publisher
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Do Orthodox rabbis abuse the power they have over women?

The case of Barry Freundel, the influential rabbi of Congregation Kesher Israel in Washington, D.C., who was arrested last week on charges of videotaping women undressing to use the synagogue’s mikvah, has catapulted the issue of rabbinic abuse of power into the headlines. It has generated widespread emotions of anger, distrust and disgust, and raised questions about men’s influence on female use of the mikvah for family purity and in the conversion process. It has also prompted calls for new communal policies to give women a greater voice in Orthodox life.

Gary Rosenblatt

For Converts, ‘Rely On Me’ Is A Dangerous Message

The tension between the Hillel and Shammai approaches to conversion still persists today. Who wins?

10/21/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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The sage Hillel is one of the heroes of Jewish tradition. He is the author of pithy quotes like “If not now, when?” and “What is hateful to you, do not do unto others; the rest is commentary — go learn it!” He was willing to accept converts that his rabbinic interlocutor and foil, Shammai, rejected.

Elli Fischer

NYC Takes The Plunge

10/13/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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When Rabbi Sara Luria talks about mikveh, you’ll want to listen.

Elicia Brown

Next Wave: N.Y’s Community Mikveh

12/31/2013
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Of course, there are mikvehs in New York. The city is filled with ritual baths serving its many observant Jewish communities. What the city doesn’t offer is a bath along the lines of Mayyim Hayyim in the Boston area, which was the brainchild of “Red Tent” author Anita Diamant. She dreamed of an aesthetically appealing “community mikveh” that would expand the definition of immersion to mean a ritual that could mark any passage.

Rabbi Sara Luria: Expanded vision for mikvah. Michael Datikash

A Rabbi's New Wedding Role -- As Bride

04/05/2013
Jewish Week Online Columnist

As some of my readers may remember, I am getting married later this month. I feel so lucky to have met my soulmate, and our relationship gets stronger and stronger as the months pass. And, though I’ve officiated at dozens and dozens of weddings, I find myself feeling as though we are creating the whole thing from scratch. I guess I expected myself to be an expert on all things wedding, but I’ve learned the lesson that you are probably all anticipating: it’s always different when it is your own event!

Rabbi Marci N. Bellows

Dutch City Begins Restoring Fourteenth-Century Mikveh

Ritual bath is proof of permanent Jewish presence in the Netherlands prior to Spanish Inquisition.

01/10/2013

The Dutch city of Venlo began restoring a recently discovered mikvah -- the oldest proof of Jewish life in the country.

The mikveh in Speyer, Germany, where Jews settled in the 11th century. Getty Images

Bad Day At The Mikveh, Good Day At The Beach

Huffington Post has a provocative piece this week by Jessica Langer-Sousa, a self-described “observant” Jewish woman who wanted to go to the mikveh before her wedding to a “devout” Catholic. (The quotation marks aren’t intended to be snide, but just to note that since “observant” and “devout” are both somewhat subject-to-interpretation adjectives that she doesn’t define, I am not sure what they mean in this context.)

After being rebuffed by the mikveh lady at one Los Angeles spot, Langer-Sousa consulted with “Rabbi Lori,” the rabbi officiating at her nuptials, and opted instead to dunk in the Pacific. The ceremony turned out to be even more meaningful and spiritual than she’d anticipated.

You might think my knee-jerk “In The Mix” reaction would be to indignantly side with Langer-Sousa as she rails against the (presumably Orthodox) mikveh lady, who told her she wouldn’t be permitted in the ritual bath because her marriage would not be recognized in the eyes of God. But, while the mikveh at the beach sounds great, I actually found the piece troubling. 

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