Commitment to Purity

By Debbie Garfinkel

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As Shavuos just passed, we prepared to once again receive the Torah that was given to us by Hashem over 3,300 years ago. The Talmud (Taanis 26b) describes Shavuos, the day marking the giving of the Torah, as the wedding day between Hashem and the Jewish people. The nation standing at the foot of Mount Sinai represents the couple standing under their chuppah, while Hashem’s giving the Torah to the nation represents the groom placing the ring on his bride’s finger.

Prior to receiving the Torah, the Jewish people cleansed themselves in a mikvah, a Jewish ritual bath, traditionally used by a bride before the wedding.

Just like the mikvah played a critical role in the Jewish people’s receiving the Torah, the mikvah continues to be a critical component in our family lives. The mikvah and the mitzvah behind it bring our families and communities so much blessing.  

A mikvah is a most integral fixture of any Jewish community. In fact, the building of a mikvah precedes the building of a shul and any other community service.

The Chicago Mikvah Association was started in 1976 with the backing of all Chicagoland Rabbonim. The CMA operates The Touhy men’s and women’s mikvah, the Skokie Women’s mikvah, the Khal Chasidim Women’s mikvah (on Pratt) as well as the Peterson Park men’s and women’s mikvah.

In operating 6 mikvaos, the CMA is responsible for over 900 visits a month. The mikvaos are open 363 nights a year, they are only closed for Yom Kippur and Tisha Bav. The CMA ensures the maintenance, upkeep, and halachic standards for all 6 mikvaos. This is no small job, as this includes the monitoring and changing of all the filters, the maintenance of 10 large boilers, expert water quality control, linen cleaning, operating high tech reservation systems, halachic guidance and much more to ensure that every woman and man has a  thoroughly positive mikvah experience.

No matter when, even well after midnight, a woman is never turned away from being able to perform her mitzvah. All mikvah attendants are compensated for their time and dedication and are also paid overtime when they have to stay late to accommodate zany schedules and delayed flights.

The myriad of expenses from payroll to plumbing are all footed by the CMA. With an annual budget of close to $600,000, we, as a community need to do our part to keep the mikvaos running in top form. Like most mikvaos, usage fees make up only about 60% of the budget, the rest is raised.

Right now, we have an opportunity to help bridge that gap and make a commitment to help the CMA. This will ensure that women and men in our community are able to continue to have a wonderful mikvah experience.

Now, for the first time ever, The Chicago Mikvah Association is raffling off $50,000 of Tuition relief! You can also opt for $30,000 cash.  You can support the Mikvah and our community AND win big! Commit to supporting the CMA and our community! But hurry, the drawing is July 1st.

Learn more and buy tickets now at TicketsforTuition.com. or email cmamikvah@gmail.com. May the support of the community and our mikvaos give you and your family incredible blessing.

 

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