The Mikva Saga Continues...

By Guest Writer, Rabbi Dov Lipman

Tensions are very high regarding the Mikvaot in Ramat Bet Shemesh with fears that this is only the beginning of a takeover of all Mikvaot in the city by Chareidi rabbonim. The timeline of the events is as follows:

1) A few months ago, the Mayor appointed a Rabbi from Shas to head the local religious council
2) Word got out that chareidi rabbonim were putting pressure on the new council head to transfer control over the city mikvaot in RBS (on Dolev and Lachish) to chareidi control instead of Rabbanut of the city which controls city mikavaot.
3) A group of women immediately met with the council head and with the city's chief Rabbi and both were sympathetic to the women but explained that the decision is the Mayor's alone and they should meet with the Mayor right away.
4) The women tried to meet with the Mayor who refused to meet with them. He also refused to meet with Rabbonim from the Sephardic and dati leumi camps including Rav Chayim Soloveichik. During the time that he refused to meet with the women and these Rabbonim, he did have time to meet with the chareidi rabbonim of RBS. It became clear that the Mayor made up his mind to give the Dolev mikva to the chareidi Rabbis and that he was considering the same for the Lachish mikva. (You might wonder what difference it who has control over the mikva. The chareidi Rabbonim hold to many stringencies which make the mikva experience unpleasant for the women with some women reporting up to 20 minutes of examinations by the mikva attendants.)
5) This chain of events led to an emergency meeting last Motzei Shabbat during which the women and Rabbonim decided to begin a battle against the Mayor through the local press, through city council members Shalom Lerner and Jacky Edri, and Ministers in the Knesset. This has resulted in this weekend's local papers all covering the story, Minister Daniel Hershkowitz (Habayit Hayehudi) committing to speak to the Shas ministers about the issue, and MK Nachman Shai (Kadima) will be raising the issue from the Knesset floor on Monday, and 2 letters, one from local women and one from local Rabbis which Rav Ovadiah Yosef's son will be bringing to his father. So, a lot is being done but the battle is far from over. Women should be on the lookout for a possible women's only demonstration and other possible courses of action in the coming weeks.

Those who would like to assist in the Rabbinical Council (Moetza Hadatit) retaining control of the "left" side of the mikva, should contact R. Dov Lipman:


  1. The same rabble-rousers who raise black flags for Independence Day collect many benefits from the population they prey upon: arnona-free housing so Zionists can pay for their water and garbage collection services as we endure garbage bags strewn about public roads so rabble-rousers can let us know they're unhappy about something, and army exemptions so others can die defending them for example. They have the gall to beg door-to-door from people they publicly despise, and now they harass naked women while defaming non-chareidi rabanim. They give a bad name to genuine chareidim who tremble with love for the Creator and His mitzvot and behave with decency. This is not behavior exemplified or endorsed by the imahot and avot.

    Violence, power-grabbing and hormones pre-occupy the thoughts of these trouble-makers. They clearly act out of deep psychological problems at odds with true Torah-values. Simply labeleling aberrant behavior as "in the name of Torah" does not make it so. Their behavior is sick. They use Torah as a convenient peg upon which to hang the excuse for acting out their problems. Treat the aberrance and danger to public welfare accordingly.

    My life and others have been endangered repeatedly by these rock-throwing nuts on several occasions. Prevailing "negotiate, patience, try again" attitudes are not improving local life. We spend far too much time undoing or recovering from the damage caused by this contingent. It is time to impeach the mayor who campaigned on becoming a mayor for everyone but abuses and ignores non-charedim. It is time to expel residents who refuse to live law-abiding lives.


  2. The J Post has an article about this controversy-looks like the truth is getting out. Hopefully the moderate membership of Bais Tefillah will wake up to how extreme and volatile their rabbi Rabbi Chaim Malinowitz is who goes around baiting those who don't share his precise opinions.The article is here:

  3. It is good that the J Post picked up the mikve issue today.

  4. You've lost the battle. Go build another mikveh and don't let them in this time!

  5. If you replace the word chareidi with Jewish, the writers of both articles sound like antisemites. Stop with your anti-hareidi diatribe.
    You feed the fires of antisemitism. If an idiot wearing a black hat does something stupid or wrong, don't blame all of chareidi jewry for it.The very small amount of troublemakers in bet don't represent chareidi jewry just like Avraham Burgs left leaning views don't represent knitted kippa views for the most part.

  6. Anonymous 13:13

    I do not see that the rabbonim who are pressing to take over the 'left' side of the mikva are the Avraham Burg's (ie not mainstream) of the RBS chareidi world.

    And they are NOT "the very small amount of troublemakers in bet [who] don't represent chareidi jewry".

    They ARE recognised community leaders and representatives of self-described "chareidi" communities in RBS Aleph.

    Do you suggest that those who support the freedom of women to choose their 'style' of mikva, should now put up a white flag, pack their bags, leave RBS, simply because they don't want to be labelled as "anti-chareidi"?

  7. Believe me, there are many people in Beis Tefillah who do not condone the Rav's behaviour, but you have to speak up! You will not lose your membership, your seat or any other rights you think you have. Only the board can decide. Demand a kehilla vote! Its your membership fee ( the highest in the neighborhood) that's filling those seats. In no shul in America would this level of control be tolerated. If you want to be an American shul, then act like one. The Rav is your employee, you pay his salary, he is supposed to be fulfilling your needs. That means not being haughty and disdainful when you need help with schools, family issues or chas v'shalom, child abuse. Demand a vote and do the right thing.

  8. The sad thing is that a community like Bais Tefillah should be dragged into a controversy such as this because of the extremism of their rabbi, Rabbi Chaim Malinowitz. To me he seems like a wolf in sheep's clothing-but that clothing is starting to fray especially when he threatens others who disagree with him with horrible,vile language.

    Bai Tefillah, wake up and smell the coffee. Many of you daven there because you justifiably like many othe people there. But, don't let the attraction of the shul allow you to get sucked into a maelstrom of fanaticism.

    Bais Tefillah, yes you can choose normalcy!

    Bais Tefillah, yes you can choose peaceful coexistence with other opinions!

    Bais Tefillah, yes you can choose to be that which you always were until you started to be tugged in another direction!

    Bais Tefillah, yes you can choose your own identity and not be forced to go the way of Satmar-like craziness!

    Bais Tefillah-yes you can!

  9. Oooh, Yaakov, the Rav won't like that one! You've now condemned the poor members to another half hour rant on Obama and politics next Shabbes. In fact, Rav CZM seems to be treating the shul a bit like a private blog. He can share all his innermost feelings and frustrations and then go quietly home to Ramot and be Mr.Normal Haredi.I'm sure that he doesn't share his political views and personal vendettas when discussing shidduchim!

  10. Please will Commenters keep to the subject of the article, which is the future of the Moetsa Hadatit 'left' side of the Dolev Mikvah.

    Please do not use this as an opportunity to criticise specific shuls; they are not a Party in this mikvah issue.

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

  12. I have taken the step of deleting the previous comment. Please keep to the topic of the mikva!

  13. How much suffering must our community's women suffer because of the fanaticism of the volatile few who insist that it's their way or the highway? What ever happened to "shivim panim letorah"? What ever happened to sanity in paskening halacha?

    This whole story is all about the disrespect of certain forces and individuals for other halachic opinions.

    The normal Haredi and non-Haredi Jews out there have to wake up and strengthen those leaders who are truly leaders and not inciters.

  14. David, thank you for your efforts to save RBS. Halevay that you were mayor.

  15. Let's wake up and realize that the mikve is just a symptom of a much more serious issue.

    These individuals wish to tell you how and where to shop, where to send your kids to school, where to give your tzedaka, who to vote for, how to daven, etc.

    They take control slowly and in seemingly innocent ways.

    I respect their right to live the way that they wish but I also want them to respect me.

  16. The chumra craziness is leading a large part of the young Haredi generation to become disillusioned and prefer a more normal haskafa (perhaps like Tov, Hardal, etc.)

    The more insane they get the more they will lose.

  17. Observe,

    I respectfully disagree. There is a "cult like" atmosphere that is dragging more and more people into this.
    While there are a few who resist the majority are intimidated by the social consequences (as well as school issues) of not "towing the line".

  18. Mr. Morris, if this is only about the Mikva, why havnt you removed the posts about Bais Tefilla and their Rav? They are very inappropriate

  19. Olam Hafuch Raisi26 April 2010 at 19:37

    A rav that calls a tzadik like Mr. Morris disgusting names in a Bais Midrash ia what I call innapropriate.

  20. Anonymous: "why havnt you removed the posts about Bais Tefilla and their Rav?"

    It is my position that this issue should solely focus on the mikva - and the "right" side vs the "left" side issues.

    A certain amount of deviation is acceptable in the comments section, but I drew the line at a certain point, and reminded commenters to keep on topic.

    Regarding Rav Malinowitz and Beis Tefilla.

    Rav Malinowitz did unfortunately make the error of writing to the RBS list (distributed to several thousand people), via his spokesman, and publicly calling CR a liar on the issue of the mikva.

    Rav Malinowitz' subsequent unprovoked verbal attack & slur against me, while I was a visitor in his shul last shabbat, which was also in public and uncouth, was not helpful either.

    Rav Malinowitz could instead be a valuable resource for the community, with his experience, expertise and ideas about the mikvaot.

    Meantime, on this blog, I will do all I can to keep the debate focused on the issues, rather than on questioning or attacking the integrity of those participating in the debate.

  21. I am appalled at the tone of some of these posts. If this was found posted elsewhere with the word "Jewish" instead of Chareidi I would think I was in Germany 80 years ago!

  22. You should be appalled that a Rav would openly embarrass and insult another man in front of the Aron Kodesh on Shabbes. For a Ben Torah to lose control of himself and lash out in anger and sinah while in Shul is truly shocking. If you want to use historical comparisons, you should look to Chamsa and Bar Chamsa and you know what came of that (similar) situation!

  23. I am sure that the members of Beis Tefilla have been calling David Morris and apologising for the embarrassing incident in their shul.
    What happened is an embarrassment for the whole shul!

  24. If you are a woman from Bet Shemesh, please sign this petiton. (If you're not but know someonewho is please send this to them)

  25. surely men can sign the petition also???


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