Land Grab at the Mikvah

(Women's Mikvah - Illustrative Photo)

There are numerous subcultures in Ramat Bet Shemesh – including Yemenites, Sephardim, Anglos, Chareidim/Ultra Orthodox, National Religious, “Israelis/Sabras”, French, etc..etc..

There are rarely clear-cut lines between the groups, as one person or family can belong to several subcultures; and there can be murky areas between these groupings.

Perhaps the most prominent divide is between the National Religious and the Chareidim. Particularly at this time of year, which is the period of Israel's Memorial Day and Independence Day.

The National Religious, usually wearing crocheted kippot/skullcaps, are flag wavers, with Israeli flags fluttering from their cars, balconies and other prominent locations. In National Religious synagogues, special services and events are held for Memorial Day and Independence Day.

The Chareidim, usually wearing black (suits) and white (shirts) and black yarmulkes/skullcaps or hats, will avoid the flag-waving, and do not have formal recognition of Independence Day and nor do they formally honour or acknowledge those who have fallen in defense of the country (Memorial Day) in their synagogues, schools or neighborhoods.

Chareidim and National Religious tend to live in specific neighborhoods of Ramat Bet Shemesh, although the boundaries are indistinct.

Since the establishment of the Ramat Beit Shemesh (Aleph) neighborhood some ten years ago, these groupings have tended to get along reasonably peaceably, with flare-ups of tensions perhaps once or twice a year – and to the best of my knowledge, these have not gotten beyond modes of behaviour tolerated in every democratic society.

In this context, I introduce you to the mikvah (ritual bath for women) on Nahal Dolev Street, in Ramat Bet Shemesh.

The mikvah/bath house was built (and paid for) by the Moetza Hadati (Religious Council) of the Bet Shemesh Municipality.

Due to claims by some Chareidi leaders that the Moetza should hand over control of the mikvah to the Chareidim, a King Solomon compromise was reached, whereby half of the building and mikvah was handed over to the control of Rabbi Tzvi Davidovitz (a Chareidi rabbi), and his colleagues, and the other half was retained under the control of the Moetza to Rabbi Spektor (a National Religious rabbi). The building opened its (two, separate) doors about a year ago.

This past week, the control of the mikvah has entered the public arena again, with articles about this in all the local weekend newspapers.

Apparently, some Chareidi rabbis have now changed their minds about the building split, and are demanding the whole building for themselves on Nahal Dolev – and control of another Moetza mikva on Nahal Lachish.

Beyond the politics, there are also some halachik (ritualistic) differences between management of the Chareidi mikvah and that of the Moetza mikvah – I understand these pertain to the use of the mikvah on Friday nights and the level of inspection the women undergo (by female employees) prior to bathing. (Many women, including some I have spoken with, find the intense inspections & invasive treatment required at the Chareidi side of the mikvah, to be humiliating and distressing).

However, such arguments are mainly technical, and are designed to give each political side some halachik credibility/basis – but are secondary to the core issues of power and control. (ie the solution does not lie, in either side’s point of view, in halachik modifications or wiggle-room technical compromises).

So, it has all the makings of a simple land-grab by the Chareidim from the National Religious/Non-Charedim; it is chiefly due to the current strength of the Chareidi (Sephardi, from the Shas Party) mayor, Rav Moshe Abutbul who was elected in November 2008.

Various changes in his ruling coalition have recently resulted in a majority chareidi vote on the Municipality.

I understand that, regardless of the perception of broken promises, and perhaps illegal use of Government funded property, the power to decide lies in the Mayor’s hands.

If Rav Abutbul decides to hand over the remaining Moetza half of the mikvah building on Nahal Dolev to the chareidi control, then the National Religious will consider this a major blow to the ten-year status-quo between the populations.

At the City level, the National Religious have tended to be gentlemanly in their politics, and so riots and aggressive public demonstrations are unlikely. (Some chareidim, particularly in Ramat Bet Shemesh Bet – a five minute drive away from the mikva – have regularly taken to burning garbage, stoning buses and cars, and even resorted to physical violence against bystanders).

So the this latest Chareidi land-grab at the Dolev Mikva stands a high chance of succeeding.


  1. Long story as short as I can make it.

    A post was made to local listserve about a problem coming from an extreme faction in the community relating to the local mikvaot.

    Communications guy (who gave no indication he is an official spokes person for the shul and I only know cause I looked him up on linked in) from a local shul says "person posting is 100% not true" (for the record I knew empirically that at least some of what she wrote was accurate. She posted something about multiple women and I was one of them!)- and the post had a very nasty "look she is lying tone" to it. That was when I posted the status.

    I sent a note to the man who put up the "look she is 100% not true to everyone" post, who put me in touch with the Rav in question who said "she was chareidi bashing" (to which I replied, but she was not bashing a community, she specifically said a small group of extremest".

    He asked me a bunch of question I answered as bluntly and as clearly as I could. He then said he found something "strange" about my story and why didn't I tell him what happened (uh, because I went to my own Rav and you are not him? I have no kesher with you, you are not an official involved, why in the world would I?).

    I then got another email saying "I do not want to email you about this anymore. You can come meet with me in person, but it would be at last a few weeks because I will be away a lot in the next bit.

    I congratulated said Rav on his reputation for being non-helpful and careless with how he spoke to people preceding him so at least people knew not to expect much and added I was quite happy to not be in further contact.

    I am willing and able to get involved on the DL side of this conflict, but have no idea how. I emailed pretty much anyone I could think of and was told someone would put me in touch with the right people, but so far have never heard back.

    RMS. RBSA resident.

  2. Mikvah For All!18 April 2010 at 17:02

    Rav Chaim Soloveichik spoke out strongly about this issue in his shabbos drosha this week.

    Rav Soloveichik explained some of the halachik problems, but also said it's a political gambit - that some Chareidi rabbonim are simply after increasing their power-base by taking over "our" side of the mikva.

    Rav Soloveichik encouraged everyone to do whatever they could to persuade the Mayor, Moshe Abutbol, not to give in to the political pressure - and to retain the current status quo at the mikva.

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  5. To paraphrase from a famous movie - The Usual Suspects:
    "...They realized that to be in power, they didn't need guns or money or even numbers - you just needed the WILL to do what the other guy wouldn't....Then he showed those men of WILL what WILL really was...Well I believe in G-d and the only thing that scares me is Keyser Söze!"
    You want to have the Chareidim respect you and recognize that you have rights too? You have to have more WILL then they do. When they use violence, extortion, threats, etc to enforce their brand of modesty in the shopping center...and as protest - the national religious come in a few tens of people with picket lose and fast. When the government says they will use violence to remove residents from Gush Katif and the national religious have a "hands across the nation" protest - they will lose.
    Either the national religious show those men of WILL what WILL is, move to Modi'in or just take it.

  6. Can someone post a link to this article on the Lists?

  7. Ladies & Gents - the issue here is the control of the mikva. It is important to keep the debate polite and on topic.

    I have therefore intervened to delete a couple of comments which I found to be disrespectful.

  8. The split mikveh to begin with was an uneasy compromise. It is an extremely uncomfortable compromise when women must state clearly upon entry which "side" they intend on using. I have experienced several quite heated debates between women as to who uses which side, why one Rav should be considered better than another and all this in a place that is supposed to epitomise quiet and tzniut. The two sides do have very different approaches ( I have used both -depending on the length of the line!). The main question I have is why Anglo Rabbonim in this neighborhood will not accept Rav Spector who is also considered "open Haredi"-just as they pretend to be.

  9. A meeting is being organized with a minister in the knesset in order to discuss this issue with him. it is important to be able to show him true testimonials of women who have had negative experiences in the Dolev mikva. If you would be willing to share your experience or help out in any other way, please contact

  10. Reading this just breaks my heart. Really. A mitzvah that some women and families have kept with real mesirut nefesh, even risk to their lives!, and now it is just another political football. Haval. Pashut haval.

    I'll tell you just a bit of what impression mikvah should make. I remember many years ago my wife coming home from the mikvah. We lived in Ramat Eshkol, and I think the mikvah was in Givah Tzarfatit. She told me what a beautiful, unifying place the mikvah is. All of Am Yisrael is there together. Sefardi, Teimani, Ashkenazi, Parsi. What's more, she saw women come to mikvah who, if seen on the street, you'd never think they keep this mitzvah (or many others). That should be the vision of mikvah. Women transcending all the divisiveness in keeping taharat Am Yisrael.

    Gevald! What has happened here? I remember Beit Shemesh as such a nice, unpretentious town when I knew it as a bahur yeshiva 30 years ago (I used to deliver the hallot there on Friday mornings from Yerushalayim). This is why, when we return to Israel for good, we don't plan on living in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

  11. Mordechai Y. Scher - Let me tell you where you are going wrong:
    The modus operandi of the Rabbanut is to proliferate a welcoming orthodox experience. Have as many kosher restaurants and products as possible, enable weddings / divorces / britot / funerals for all, and of course easy and pleasant access to mikvot for all.
    The modus operandi of the chareidi community is to protect and segregate their community from other views and what they call negative influences. This, by definition limits and condenses. not opens. The reason why many people are strict to not eat rabanut only food products, is because the underlying assumption is that they use leniencies in order to ensure that the establishment or the product is kosher...while private kashrut labels use higher standards. The same is viewed for mikvot, weddings, conversions, or any other religious ritual. some chareidi claims have real merit (like food), some don't. But the point is - chareidim are not interested in providing a positive religious experience for all walks of Jewish life; they are interested in protecting their own community FROM all other walks of Jewish life.

  12. I believe that the worst perversion of Judaism in all of this is that if the extremists succeed in making all of the Mikvahs follow their own Chumrahs, this is VERY LIKELY to dissuade those women who "come to mikvah who, if seen on the street, you'd never think they keep this mitzvah" (as Mordechai Y. Sher mentioned earlier) from continuing to use the Mikvah; and this will be preventing Jews from keeping an important Mitzvah! My Rosh Kollel, Rav Moshe Ben-Abu, used to tell us that he always instructed people who ran Mikvahs simply to encourage the women who arrive to dip in the Mikvah, even if they keep the most lenient interpretations, since forcing them to be more Machmir may drive them away from observance of this Mitzvah (and maybe of other Mitzvot).
    There is NOTHING to prevent a women from keeping any Chumrahs she wants to, even if the Mikvah also allows the more lenient views; but if the Mikvah only allows the Chumrahs, those with the lenient views will not be able to practice the Mitzvah as they want, and some may abandon the Mitzvah altogether!
    The extremists should consider the Din they will have to give in heaven for this discouragement of Jews from keeping Mitzvot before they try to coerce everyone in the neighborhood to keep their Chumrahs.
    I was always taught that anyone who wants to may be Machmir upon HIMSELF (or herself); not upon anyone else!

  13. And where may I ask are Rabbis Copperman, Ariel, Vargon, and yes, Shapira and Haber?

  14. I lean more to the charedi side of things and I move in those circles. I strongly encourage the Dati Leumi community to stand up for what they believe in. I am not even sure I'd agree with you but....why roll over & just give up??

    seriously.....don't just give in.

  15. I have lived in RBS for a few years now and I consider myself to be to the right of the center. I for one never hear of any issues in RBS unless I go online and then they are usually from the left of center populous. Why is this? Right of center and people on the right in general do not have internet access? I don't know but I find it to be a little disheartening. There are many issues here in RBS and all this bad mouthing on what I personally view as non issues does not reflect the reality of what is really happening here on the ground. The Left is hyper sensitive to these issues and are - let's face it - in the minority here in RBS. There is no reason to constantly diss RBS and turn everything into us vs them, all you are doing is encouraging people like Mordechai Scher to not move to RBS. To those of you who are reading this post thinki8ng that RBS is full of these issues (which was me before I moved here) please know that it is a fine place to live and these issues are infantile and do not reflect on what really goes on here. To the hyper sensitive people on the right and left, please calm down, you are only doing the rest of us a disservice, when family and friends call me about issues they see online that I have never even seen or heard of (and I live here0.

  16. I agree with Anon for the most part. The only time I hear about all the issues in RBS is when reading these blogs.

    In regards to this mikva issue, my wife has been going to one in Bet since we arrived. Wanna know why? Because it's nicer and cleaner to her! She is willing to overlook the "chumras" of the "checker". To her they are not at all demeaning. I am not saying that is for all, but to make it sound like this is an issue "everyone" in RBS is going through is wrong.

    On the other hand I do also sympathize with those that feel this is an issue. However, we need to stop sensationalizing some of these issues as if they apply to "everyone" in RBS and affect every second of our daily lives. For the most part life here is rather serene and peaceful. I have not had one incident that personally made me feel otherwise. Every community has its issues. If this is an issue to you, talk to the people that can do something about it. If you want to organize a protest that do so, but the blog bashing for all the world to see does us no good.

  17. To the anon that asked, "And where may I ask are Rabbis Copperman, Ariel, Vargon, and yes, Shapira and Haber?" Are you assuming that because they have not made their voices heard on these blogs they do not have an opinion? Why don't you pick up the phone and ask them where they? Hmm, there's a novel idea.

  18. Anonymous wrote: "what I personally view as non issues..."

    Of course YOU see it as a non-issue. It is YOUR chevre who is getting the mikva!!

  19. Those of you who do not have any issues in RBS are in your own world. I am happy that you live in peace and serenity but Most people in this community have major issues with the lifestyle that is playing out in RBS. The majority of the Chareidi community here would like to live in some Shtetl without any connection to reality or life in 2010. They would like to make the troubled teenagers dissapear. They continue to shop in the Mercaz even though they are treated badly. They continue to go to the Mikvaos here and accept the physical and emotional abuse that takes place. They make believe that there is no such thing as sexual abuse. They follow blindly whatever their Rav says and attributes this to Emunas Chachamim. Most people here are following whatever they are told. Where are their own thoughts in life? Where are their own personal choices? They are lost to their Rabbis and to the dangerous cult that has overtaken the american chareidim who live in this community. Just because you might not have experienced these things does not mean it is not happening. Maybe you are not talking to the right people. Maybe you are being misguided by your Rav who would not allow you to think on your own. This town is riddled with massive problems. It is well known in almost every city in Israel that RBS unfortunatelly has many many issues. Maybe if we would face up to what is really going on here and open our eyes past our Shuls, Rabbis, and schools we would be able to look at the big picture. There is a long list of changes that needs to happen here. The longer we are blinded by those guiding us the more damage will continue to be done. If we could just face and deal with the problems maybe there would not be so many issues here.

  20. The majority of the Chareidi community here would like to live in some Shtetl without any connection to reality or life in 2010. "They would like to make the troubled teenagers dissapear. They continue to shop in the Mercaz even though they are treated badly. They continue to go to the Mikvaos here and accept the physical and emotional abuse that takes place. They make believe that there is no such thing as sexual abuse. They follow blindly whatever their Rav says and attributes this to Emunas Chachamim."

    I posted the previous anon comment about being right of center.

    You seem to have some serious issues with RBS and I for one see almost none of what you are referring to. I don't toe the chareidi line, so to the one who commented "they are your people" you are mistaken. If they were my people would I be online in the first place? RBS in general is a place where I feel comfortable living.
    I support Hakshiva - so no I do not want the kids to disappear.

    I shop in the mercaz, and even though I don't wear black and white - dare I say I wear polo shirts, I have never been mistreated.

    My wife goes to the mikvah on Dolev and Lachish and has NEVER been demeaned or degraded, so please enough with sensationalism. I am not chareidi, neither am I dati leumi, but enough is enough. True there are issues, but you don't think there are issues in Brooklyn as well? Time to focus on the important things in life and time to stop nit picking on all the things that don't matter.

  21. Let's examine the issue with an eye towards facts, shall we? There is an allegation that the Charedi leadership is attempting to take full control of the Dolev mikvah, as well as an allegation that women are mistreated on the Charedi side.

    As far as the allegation that women are mistreated, the assumption seems to be that, unlike Dati Leumi halachic guidelines, Charedim should not be free to determine halachah to the best of their abilities, as their rabbanim see it. what a perversion of the Torah! If women feel they are being mistreated in the Charedi section, they should of course go to the other side! So long as there is a choice, the complaint about being mistreated amounts to an attempt to control religious sensitivities.

    The other allegation is more serious. If, indeed, the Charedim take over the entire mikvah, and this causes discomfort for some families, the results could be (chas visholom) that some women are dissuaded from going to the mikvah altogether. I would suggest that calm people (perhaps we could import them from outside of RBS?) meet and discuss this issue, and try to find the molecule of truth amidst the mountain of stupidity and sensationalism. I personally would suggest that the split mikvah remain split, but what do I know?

    The rest of these postings are yet another attempt to turn a messy political situation into an attack against the concept of emunas chachamim and an attempt to stereotype Charedim as all stupid and egocentric and totally isolated from the real world. It seems that, although stereotyping in general is a vicious crime, it is a mitzvah regarding "Charedim." Please re-think this policy, as it becomes tedious to read the same silly comments over and over.

  22. I feel ashamed and disappointed regarding the Rabbi who posted that the information shared regarding the political designs on the mikva were "lies". His comment felt embarrassing and obviously defensive. Not to mention that his comment was slanderous, as the woman who posted did not do so annonamously. Naturally, there was no explanation offered, which did not lend to the credibility of the statement. Unfortunately this rabbi also won't explain the issues to women of his own community who have asked (in private, and off list) about the difference between the two wings of the mikva. Why is that? He claims that it is because one who hasn't spent years studying the issue and isn't an expert in the laws of mikva can't possibly appreciate the intricate subtelties of the halachik differences between the two mikvas. It is this attitude of "just do it and don't ask questions" that concerns me. I believe in emunas chachamim. But I also believe in the right to ask. "Lo habayshan lamed," One who is ashamed (to ask) cannot learn. I feel it is the role of the Rabbi to provide answers. To simplify the issues and make things understood. Just as a lay person doesn't have to go to medical school in order to understand a medical diagnosis. A lay person doesn't have to become a rabbi to understand the laws of mikva and appreciate the different standards. Just as a patient is expected and encouraged to find out about his medical condition, a person should not be discouraged to find out about his mikva. This rabbi is doing a disservice to his congregants and turning them and others away. This is unfortunate. I encourage women (and men) who have had a similar experience to move forward and keep asking. Do not accept this response and find a different rabbi who is not afraid to speak out the issues and whom does not insult his sincere congregants who turn to him for answers.

  23. I belong to a community within RBS which is considered "open chareidi" which means that if you are "truly" chareidi, you would not consider it chareidi at all; but if you are modern orthodox, you would consider it chareidi.
    In any event, some of the congregants do want to be considered chareidi, others, like myself, want to sit on the fence.
    I want to share my distress over having to attend a mikva that is split down the middle. As a simple person, when I walk into the mikva, and have to choose between "right wing" (literally!) or "left wing" I cannot possibly abuse the mitzva as a way to make others feel inferior to me. I cannot risk the tragedy of offending the good women who volunteer on the "left" side, and cause them to feel that I don't consider them worthy enough for me. In other words, despite my outer affiliation. I always go to the left...and I do so with my head held high. When asked to which side I want to go, I always stand up and raise up my voice and say: "Left, thank you."
    Being machmir is fine, but not at the expense of another person's honor. Who am I to doubt Rabbi Spektor? Who is any Jewish woman in this community to doubt him? I simply cannot even understand the women who can demean their mikva observance in taking a stand with the obviously corrupt political saga which is taking place behind the scenes in our community. We all came from communities where the mikva was the mikva. Let us keep our heads, ladies. The mikva is a mikva. The balanit is a balanit. Let us, the women of Ramat Beit Shemesh, take a stand against the powerful men who are trying to use the purity of our mikvas as a dirty political pawn and let us unify against this corrupt attempt. Let us sanctify the mikvas of our community and dispell this transparent scheme. Let us take a stand towards unity and purity and proper Jewish values. Dear friends, on this particular issue, let us all go LEFT!

  24. In response to Anonymous who posted at 12.01. You have to speak up. If you are a BT member-let the board know. This Rav has abused his self proclaimed power in this kehilla for too long and its not the first time he has had to be brought down a peg on this blog. Shout out loud to the board, after all, your membership pays his fees! You are not the only women in the shul by far who feels the same.

  25. As a Charedi woman who has used many mikvaot in the BS/RBS area for more than 10 yrs, I am posting annon in keeping with the sensitivity of this issue. I have personally never felt abused in any mikvah in town. Many years ago, I did not like the check I was receiving and I told the Balanit. I only went to that location once. The Mikvah in Bet in beautiful. The one on Dolev is in walking distance and much cheaper so I now go there. I go to the right b/c the checking is more stringent and I have spoken to my Rebitzin about it in detail. I feel like I just got a free manicure/pedicure. All the balanit there have been super nice and friendly. No one on the "left" side has been rude or acted insulted. I say hi and smile and say thank you when I pay. To me, it is like choosing the checkout line in the store that suits you better. Sometimes I go to one b/c I know that checkout girl is faster and/or is going to help me pack the Mishloach. I question my Rav all the time. It must drive him nuts. Rarely do I get the "because I said so" answer. sometimes I do get the, "It's really Gemarra based and you need to discuss this issue with your husband. He should come to me if he has any further questions." We are, as frum women, taught that our husbands wish is pretty much our command and that was WAY before my husband and I became so Charedi. We have slowly moved towards to right and a Rav on the right. If I strongly dislike what the Rav said, I ask if he is giving me a Psak or Eitza. We still get to choose what we want to do. The Mikvah should certainly be open to everyone, depending on your affiliation and obviously Sefardi women have to toivel at the appropriate time on Friday. When I have been there, the balanit always asks who is Sefardi and they all go in before us Askenazim. If someone else has had a different experience, then that balanit should not be the one in charge on Friday night and it should be complained about. If Rav Davidovich is in charge of the Charedi balanit, then go to him. He is pretty approachable and helpful. Otherwise, go to another Charedi Rav in the area and discuss the issue with him, esp if you are Sefardi and he can go to the Rav and work on the issue. That is the point. If it is a halchic question, go to a Rav, have him discuss it with the other Rabbanim so it keeps it in the forum of halacha rather than what we "want".

  26. We bought on paper in RBS Aleph in 1998 and moved in to our home in 1999. I've been active and informed about most of the goings-on during all these years.
    The issue of mikveh "ownership" (if it can be called that) for me is the last straw. Putting aside all the other discussion points and considerations that others have raised here, and on other forums, for us it comes down to the simple fact that Dati Leumi are not wanted here anymore - not by the haredi rabbis and not by the mayor and his council either. Oh sure, they say we can all get along, and that it's just a matter of numbers, but these are all lies. I've heard with my own ears from Haredi leaders (and R. Abutbul) that RBS A will become a haredi town.
    What does a haredi-controlled mikveh mean practically for us dati leumi? For starters, it means our wives will have to go elsewhere, since the balaniot work under different rules ('nuff said). Next, it means our rabbis (Ariel, Ramat Shalom's Rav, Soloveichik, Kopperman, etc..) have no control or say in the core halachik issues confronting their constituencies. They (and us by proxy) will have been obliterated from religious ordinance in RBS. Also, there's a matter of budget. Whoever controls the mikveh budget yields additional power, etc...

    So what can WE do about it? Well, I've heard rumors on the 'street' that the dati leumi will finally take to demonstrations over this issue, and even threaten more ominous attacks, such as cutting haredi eruvs, etc... (I DON'T subscribe to the latter, I'm just stating what I've heard). Other practical action is to call Mayor Abutbuls office. He may decide to give it to them anyways, but he should know that the resistance is formidable. Another option that we are considering is to STOP giving ma'aser money to haredi organizations or individuals until they back down from this power grab. You want us out of here, you'll have to build your shuls and support your kolels from someone else's pockets. Finally, and I don't know much about this, but there's always Baga"tz - the judical system is meant to protect our rights. When status quo is changed, there has to be a way to repel and repeal. Let's not give up our rights! This is our city as much as anyone else's. We believe in co-existence. Let's co-exist. Haredim - back down now and be happy with the way things are. Dati Leumi - Stand up for your rights!

  27. To anon 12:47 - you might feel that you just got a free manicure/pedicure from the Chareidi Balanit, but others (like me) find this experience painful and unnecessary. I've also had expreriece where the Balanit in another Chareidi mikva made me wash my hair with various chemicals to remove a any minor dandruff that MAY have been present. The result of these unnecessary chumros has been:

    - I've been dealing with severe fungus on my toenails - something I'd never had before - that I contracted from the Balanit's "manicure/pedicure" that she insisted I needed, despite my having gone to a professional earlier in the day; and

    - I've had my hair thin and come out in clumps from the chemicals they made me wash my hair with.

    So, thank you, but you can take your chumros and shove them - they've caused me only problems (including Halachic issues for any future mikva trips and Shalom Bayis issues). I hope that the Chareidi Rabbonim have to go through what they've put me through - they seem to have fun being unnecessarily Machmir on women, since it's not something they personally have to deal with.

  28. I think we should demonstrate by locking all the mikvas in our neighborhood and making them inaccessible to everyone, including charedim!!!!!
    After one evening, our message should come through quite clearly.
    The mikva belongs to everyone, and cannot be "controlled" by one sector.

  29. My (frum) demermatologist told me to NEVER allow a balanit to touch my skin with their equipment.

    Infections, fungus and other damage apparently commonly result.

  30. The mikveh on Dolev was opened as a direct response to the Charedi takeover of the mikveh on Lachish. The Iriyah built and financed it and Rav Spector oversaw its construction. In the Lachish mikveh, signs were placed telling women that it fell under the authority of Rav Perlstein, but no one wanted to fund its upkeep. It became dirty and depressing. the new mikveh on Dolev is clean and pleasant, so rather than paying to bring Lachsih up to standard, it is much easier to take over Dolev. The Lachish mikveh is closer to the more Charedi population ( Revivim, the Mercaz etc) so it makes better sense to keep that one as the Charedi one with rav Perlstein supervising it, while the more "open" population of the Dolev circle can make a choice where they want to tovel. Its so very sad that we have to argue and bring into the public domain something that is a private mitzvah.

    Aryeh, your rash email opened another can of worms. It was so very sad that you let yourself be a mouthpiece for this and insult an important community member and someone who campaigned for good issues in this neighborhood for so long. Why can't your Rav fight his own battles?

  31. Maikvas for All21 April 2010 at 08:56

    What Can We Do To Stop It?

    Is there anyone willing to take this beyond a forum/discussion, and to arrange (chiefs) whatever is necessary to stop this 'land grab'?

    Who should people call who want to also help (injuns)?

  32. deracheha darche noam21 April 2010 at 23:16

    The mitzva of the mikveh certainly can be a beautiful part of our culture and of man/woman relations. But the moment it becomes dingy, unwelcoming, uncomfortable or otherwise unpleasant, it has ceased its function. People may be reluctant to accept this after being inundated with layer upon layer of philosophical and hashkafic fluff, but the mikveh (and all of tuma/tahara) was originally about hygiene. Once we found more efficient ways to bathe and came to understand more about disease, the mikveh (and all other inyanei tahara) out of necessity were transformed into spiritual or "ritual" acts. Hence the halachos (which you will not find in the Chumash) about removal of chatzitzos before entering, etc. I am sorry to be introducing another element of machlokes into this debate (though maybe it will help bring both sides together against a "kofer"), but the point is that the guiding principle for all mitzvos including the mikveh is "deracheha darchei noam". They need to be pleasant and come in multiple derachim in order to properly serve Klal Yisrael. Otherwise, one might as well just take a bath.

  33. If anything could make me question living here, it is this divisivness and mafia style 'Judaism'. I've never regretted my Aliya regardless of any difficulties along the way. But this- this makes me sick.

    I was speaking about this to a friend and she put it very succinctly. "Keep your turf wars out of my mikva"

    This is OUR mitzva. And when I say OUR, I mean the women that deal with the men's pissing battles.

    I agree with banding together and demonstrating. We are currently demonstrating against the 4 cellular antennas that were erected with no permissions asked or granted at the top of Dolev Park Center - accross from the Mikva- which happens to be in my back yars- Thank you Iriya for the enormous view blocking fence and calls of 'Kasher' that we are privvy to.

    So, lets demonstrate about this as well... anyone in?


  34. Please everyone watch this. If the link doesn't work go to and search for "Acharei Mos" and then click on Rabbi Yehuda Moses' link. It's just a 9 minute video with a very important and relevant message.

  35. To Anon 12:47 of April 20 -

    You mention that you feel like the Balanit gives you a "free manicure/pedicure". While you might like that, it is incredibly inconsiderate to the 20 women in line, who have spent the time to properly preare (including paying for a professional manicure/pedicure earlier in the day, during the proper time for Chafifa), and need only to dip. I personally have waited at least 25 minutes in the room, after spending another hour in the main room for space to free up, while listening to the Balanit snip-snip-snipping at someone else's nails. I would have been perfectly willing to have the DL Balanit check me, but they refused to allow it.

    If there are women who come to the Mikva needing a manicure/peduicure to meet the Chareidi standard, then perhaps the Mikva should have someone sitting there to provide this service - this is not the Balanit's job, and causes major delays for those who come ready to go.

  36. Anonymous said...
    The mikveh on Dolev was opened as a direct response to the Charedi takeover of the mikveh on Lachish. The Iriyah built and financed it and Rav Spector oversaw its construction. In the Lachish mikveh, signs were placed telling women that it fell under the authority of Rav Perlstein, but no one wanted to fund its upkeep. It became dirty and depressing. the new mikveh on Dolev is clean and pleasant, so rather than paying to bring Lachsih up to standard, it is much easier to take over Dolev.

    unfortunately not one thing here is true
    rav pelstein raised private funds to renovate the mikva in the early days before it even opened and those renovations were overseen jointly by rav spector and rav perlstein - rav spector wasn;t even in the city when the main part of the mikva was built
    the chareidim never took over the mikvah - in fact they were ousted by rav spector forcing their wives to pay 30 shekel in taxis just to go to the mikvah in beit shemesh (rbsb wasn;t even built yet)
    the signs didn;t say that the mikva fell under the authority of rav perlstein - they said that only the upstairs mikva was under the supervision of rav perlstein and only on friday nights as opposed to the downstairs which he had no part of the construction (what would you reccomend for him to do to make it clear to those that rely solely on him to use the mikva) the signs never said downstairs wasn;t kosher just that his supervision is upstairs. also the signs were inly up on friday nights "(when they ween't pulled down by rav spector's people)
    the responsibility for upkeep was from day one that of the moatza and from day one it was dsgusting there
    actually rav spector was unwilling to give lachish to the chareidim and take dolev. HE wanted both. the chareidim settled for one half of dolev all together one mikva four baths and one shower while rav spector kept one mikva five baths in dolev as welll as three mikvas and ten rooms on lachish.

  37. I've lived in RBS A for around 11 years.

    When I first moved here, there was no mikva in RBS - and we used to go to Rehov Harekefet.

    When Lachish opened the local women were delighted.

    However, regarldess of Rav Perlsteins "renovations" - which actually were his chumras imposed on the original mikve which he declared not-kosher- and so delayed its openning for over a year - it was always a horrible place.

    I was not a newly wed (even back then!). Neverthless, I have still not recuperated from the trauma of visiting Rav Perlstein's mikva on Lachish.

    The balaniyot insisted on performing plastic surgery on me, and even afterwards refused to let me in to the mikva!

    I came out crying - and still get upset when I remember it.

    The 'surgery' required professional medical treatment (Dr Shamroth) and to this day, I hate going to the mikva (however nice all other balaniot have been since).

    I have studiously avoided chareidi privately run mikvas ever since.

    I am horrified at the prospect of the Moetza run side of the Dolev Mikva being taken over by these people and their chumras.

    Trust me, Anonymous - many women, who currently flock to the left side of the mikva, will cease going to the mikva at all on shabbosim and yomim tovim, etc..when they can't travel to moetza mikvas outside the neighborhood.

    What do these chareidi rabbonim lose by allowing me - and all the women of the neighborhood - our choice of mikva?

    (It's bad enough that women have to 'declare' themselves - left or right?!!! It should be a place for everybody - as is the case in every other community I know of)

  38. Another RBS Woman26 April 2010 at 12:30

    Anonymous: "unfortunately not one thing here is true" etc..

    Everything in Anonymous 08:36 comment is irrelevant.

    The premise that the charedim deserve a part of a public mikve is mistaken to begin with, and if Rav Spector was nice enough or naive enough to allow this to go on in previous years, it doesn't make it right.

    The same way charedim pay for private kashrus when they don't want to rely on regular rabbanut so they form their own badatz, they can build their private mikve. They were given the chance to do so on Luz- and were even offered partial iriya funding, although there is no real need for a 3rd mikve in RBS- but they chose not to go that way, and take over gov't property instead.

    Rav Spector is in charge of the mikvaot, and not anyone else.

    If Rav Perlstein chose to have his people spend 30 shekels on taxis each month- that's his problem, nobody stopped them from using the rabbanut mikve.

    By the way, I have been speaking to many charedi women, who all told me they were shocked by the balaniyot here on Dolev, and that this does not go on in any of the charedi mikvaot here or anywhere else.

  39. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  41. It is intereting to note that for all this talk about the chareidim lookind down on the DL, there is so much chareidi bashing and bizayon talmidey chachomim coming from the DL camp towards the chareidi camp

  42. Stop Playing the "Bashing" Card27 April 2010 at 19:51

    Bizayon talmidei chochomim?


    The DL rabbonim from Rav Spector through our local roshei kehillos speak with utmost respect.

    They have acted dignified in face of the insult that has come from some of the Charedi camp.

    Just because someone is a talmid chochom doesn't give him the right to hegmoeny.
    I was at a function where a rav got up to speak and another rav (who happens to be part of the mikve fray) made a point of walking out of the room.

    I was at a concert in the park here when that same rav and his helpers protested and injured innocent choir children.

    I attended a melave malka of an organization when that same rav labeled as unworthy one of the most choshuv tzedaka organizations in this city.

    In all of these cases the talmidei chochomim of which you speak remained silent.

    Just as the rabbonim of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza did.

    Which is why we are in our present state.

  43. Oh perhaps rav spector or rav soloveitchik never said a bad thing about rav perlstein
    None of the chareidim that you attack are getting on the internet to insult rav spector - just the dl are insulting rav malinowitz and the others

  44. Explanation: I have removed a couple more comments. One of them was from Catriel Lev; I discussed Catriel's comment with him, and we mutually decided it could be removed. The next comment was in response to Catriel's, and so I removed that also.


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