Lexington Miqvah Foundation

Our mission is to build a small, attractive, egalitarian, kosher miqvah facility in the Central Kentucky area. We want to be able to enjoy the convenience of a local facility to observe mitzvot and to commemorate both private and public lifestyle events, broaden our spirituality, and connect with our ancestors in an unbroken line of observance stretching back to antiquity - and on into the future!

We wish to participate in the growing spiritual trend that is sweeping the nation to reclaim and reinvent one of Judaism's most ancient rituals - immersion in the miqvah - for contemporary spiritual use. We will teach about this resource for all men and women who are interested in new ways to express their individuality, and make the miqvah a sacred space that is open and accessible to all Jews including Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Unaffiliated, and Secular, including those in the process of becoming Jews.

In order to fulfill this mission, we have these goals in mind:

1. Provide a welcoming, beautiful place for traditional and creative miqvah uses.
2. Foster new ceremonial uses for the miqvah relevant to the 21st century Jewish community.
3. Provide information and accessible hours for those observing the mitzvah of niddah.
4. Recognize and promote the unique interests of men and women in traditional and contemporary miqvah practice.
5. Provide educational resources (both classes and teaching materials) regarding the uses of the miqvah.
6. Secure the financial future of the facility by operating in a fiscally responsible manner and through such means as debt avoidance, annual fund, and endowment development.

The Bluegrass area has been without a community miqvah for many years now. Join the Lexington Miqvah Foundation in this historic opportunity to being both tradition and a modern spiritual practice back to the area.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Conversion Issue in no danger of being resolved soon.

The issue of what constitutes a proper conversion and a proper intent to convert has been a growing problem in recent years, as many people who have made aliyah continue to find out the hard way. Having a conversion in America by a non-ultra-orthodox Rabbi will qualify you to make aliyah. However, many American Jews think that means they are considered Jewish in Israel. They are not. Only conversions performed by American Rabbis on an approved list by the Israel Rabbinate are accepted, and few Modern Orthodox and no other non-ultra-orthodox Rabbis are on that list. The problems in Israel are even greater - the ultra-orthodox Rabbinate has complete control of all matters of family law: marriage, divorce, adoption, custody, etc. Even Jews in Israel are caught in their power, many choosing to go abroad to marry so at least the Israeli government will register them as married. If they cannot prove several generations of having no converts and several generations of religiously observant Jewish mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers, even Jews born in Israel cannot satisfy the Rabbinate. Jews from America, whether natural born or converts, have little chance of having their documentation accepted, presuming they can even come up with several generations worth in the first place. Part of the problem for American Jews, especially Reform Jews, is that they failed to be immersed in a miqvah as part of their conversion process. Having a miqvah conveniently located in Lexington could alleviate this problem for local Jews by Choice who may wish to make aliyah in the future. The other aspect is that the Reform Religion is not accepted as Judaism by the Rabbinate in Israel, due to the failure of Reform Jews to adhere to the premise of matrilinear descent and the premise that Torah observance is a required element of the Jewish religion. Many American Jews object to the Rabbinate's position. The Rabbinate, however, does not care. To try and deal with this problem as it pertains to marriage and conversion, the Israeli government has considered giving people paths other than the Rabbinate for marriages and conversions. Civil marriage has been considered. A more secular conversion board has been considered. But the Rabbinate has not been willing to cede any of their power to control family issues. http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2014/03/as-new-conversion-bill-advances-chief-rabbis-threaten-to-refuse-to-follow-it-and-to-not-recognize-jewish-567.html#more You may be thinking this has nothing to do with you. And perhaps neither you nor any of your descendants will have to deal with the authorities in Israel. But you can't know that for sure. It is in American Jews' best interest to be aware of what is going on and to lobby the Knesset to be mindful of the interests of Jews in America and around the world who may want to make aliyah someday. Maybe even you or your kids. We will keep you posted on developing events. Shalom!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Chabad Mitzvah Minute about Immersing Utensils

Immersing Utensils From: "Chabad.org" Shevat 15, 5774 · January 16, 2014 Do the Kosher Dip in the Mikvah We don’t usually think of the kitchen as a holy space. Yet eating, when done mindfully, is a holy act which renders all your cooking utensils divine instruments. This explains why they need to be immersed in a mikvah―a ritual pool―before use. What: If it comes in direct contact with food or drink, it needs a dip. That includes percolators, measuring cups, and those parts of a blender that touch the food. If it doesn’t come in contact with ready-to-eat food (examples: meat grinders or kneading bowls), dip without a blessing. Same with storage utensils that are not brought to the table. Eating, when done mindfully, is a holy act which renders all your cooking utensils divine instruments. Dip utensils made of metal, glass or Corelle with a blessing. No need to dip wood, stone, paper, bone, unglazed earthenware, plastic, synthetic materials and disposable items, or a utensil that was manufactured and always owned by a Jew. China should be dipped without a blessing. How: Head to your local mikvah. Before the dip, make sure your utensil is clear of dirt, rust or stickers. Those stickers often leave their stickiness behind, so check for that as well. Say: Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us concerning the immersion of (a) vessel(s). Totally submerge the utensil in the mikvah water. Loosen your grip to allow the water to reach the utensil’s entire surface all at once. Notes: If your utensil was used for non-kosher food, the dip is not enough. Click here to learn how to make it kosher. Food placed in an un-immersed utensil is still kosher—just remove it from there as soon as possible. Only utensils currently under Jewish ownership require immersion. Utensils that have already been used without immersion still require immersion. No local dish mikvah? There are also certain natural bodies of water where one may be allowed to immerse dishes. Contact a local rabbi for the qualifications.

A Chabat Mitzvah Minute regarding Miqvah

The Mikvah From: "Chabad.org" Tishrei 28, 5774 · October 2, 2013 A spa for the soul There’s a building whose construction takes precedence over a synagogue. In fact, a synagogue may be sold to raise funds for this building. This is a mikvah, a ritual pool constructed according to the exact specifications outlined in Jewish law. Immersion in a mikvah effects an elevation in status. Its waters have the power to spiritually transform and produce metamorphosis. The primary function of the mikvah today is its use in the observance of the Jewish “Family Purity” laws. Following her monthly menstrual cycle, a woman immerses in the mikvah, spiritually refreshing and spiritually boosting herself and her relationship with her husband and with the entire household. The Basics Many use this holy moment for personal communication with G‑d. From the onset of menstruation until seven days after its end, couples may not engage in any direct physical contact, or even physical manifestations of affection. After nightfall of the seventh day, the woman visits the mikvah. Today’s mikvah looks like a fashionable spa: luxurious bath and powder rooms, vanities, fresh towels, disposable slippers, a comfortable robe and all the other essentials. The aesthetic beauty of the facility, along with the rejuvenation and spiritual boost experienced, explains why the mikvah is frequented by many who practice no other formal Jewish observance. After a relaxing and thorough bathing, the woman then enters the pristine, warm mikvah waters. After immersing, while still in the mikvah, the woman recites a special blessing. Many use this holy moment for personal prayer and communication with G‑d. After immersion, the couple resumes marital relations. Some Details: 1. A woman first immerses in the mikvah before her wedding. 2. For the postmenopausal woman, one final immersion offers purity for the rest of her life. 3. Mikvah is not required during pregnancy and nursing, as long as there is no menstrual flow. Mikvah.org has more information, and a worldwide directory and virtual tours of mikvahs around the world. See also our Family Purity section for more info. The above is only a basic and very incomprehensive treatment of this subject. Studying with a woman experienced in this field is the way to gain familiarity with this mitzvah. Your rabbi’s wife will be able to refer you to someone who can give you personal instruction.

There and back again.

Full Circle Mikvah.org ...I was involved in the Partners in Torah program. When the three mitzvahs for women came up, I had to know what they were. (I was the annoying “but why” type of child, and never outgrew it) So, I found out there was such a thing as a mikvah, and I wanted to go. ...I lived in rural middle Georgia. The nearest mikvah was about 100 miles away in Atlanta... ...When I got to the mikvah, I was so nervous, so afraid. I have never felt more out of place, more embarrassed, more stupid. Everything was unimaginable to me.... The nearest operational Miqvah to us is in Cincinnati. If you would like to go, but are nervous, by all means contact me at miqvah@windstream.net and I will be happy to accompany you.

Green Miqvah Tech

Jerusalem Introduces Water Recycling In Ritual Baths By Tal Sandler (translation) March 28, 2012 The water at the mikveh (ritual bath) of Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood in Jerusalem will soon be recycled, thanks to an advanced water recycling system, the first of its kind in Israel. The project is expected to save approximately 5 million liters of water per year. ...“In the reality we live in, every drop of water is precious. It is of huge importance to recycle the water in the Mikvehs,” explains Alex Weisman, CEO of Moriah. “We believe that the pilot will succeed and that Jerusalem will be a water saving model for other cities.”

A pool of meaning.

A New Kind of Mikveh In New York City Revitalizing the mikveh experience for a new generation of Jews By Chavie Lieber October 3, 2013 2:49 PM ...“There are many connotations around the mikveh: some people don’t know about it, and some view it in a negative way, while others have beautiful experiences,” said Rabbi Sara Luria, who launched the program in October 2012. “We are trying to say the mikveh is a pool, and we imbue it with meaning. There are enough barriers associated with the mikveh, and we want to lower those barriers and teach people they can mark a life experience in a Jewish way.”

A feminist awareness of 21st century issues.

New Jewish Rituals Offer Comfort to Women Who Have Had Abortions ‘Not being able to process it religiously makes it a very hard experience. We thought it’s important to give it a voice.’ By Josie Glausiusz|August 13, 2013 12:00 AM ...Mayyim Hayyim is not the first institution to offer a Jewish ritual for abortion: In 1998, Conservative Rabbi Amy Eilberg published a post-abortion ritual in Moreh Derekh, the Rabbinical Assembly’s “Rabbi’s Manual” that serves as the Conservative community’s guide to Jewish life-cycle events. Eilberg, who is now on the faculty of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in Brighton, Minn., says she wrote the “grieving ritual following termination of pregnancy” out of “a general Jewish feminist awareness that the tradition was created substantially by men . . . who didn’t necessarily know what women, if they had agency, would want to have included in the tradition.” Eilberg recalls that in her work as a hospital chaplain in the early 1990s, she met many women who had experienced a pregnancy loss or termination. “Whether it was because of an abnormality, whether it was because conception was unintended, and the mother discerned that she was not going to be able to take care of this baby, or God forbid it was a rape, whatever the circumstances, I frequently encountered grief and sometimes significant ambivalence of ‘am I doing the right thing?’ ” These women often sought reassurance from their loved ones or community, she said, “that there is some way to sanctify the decision that I’ve made.”

Our reality is valid - embrace it.

My Abortion, My Miscarriage, and My Right To Have My Own Feelings Women are entitled to a wide range of emotions about their bodies and fertility. But under Jewish law, the rules are clear. By Marjorie Ingall|September 10, 2013 12:00 AM ...No matter what we feel—sadness at a miscarriage, relief at an abortion—women are told their feelings aren’t legitimate. Someone—a politician, a friend, a member of the clergy—invariably tells us to buck up if we’re devastated by the loss of a wanted pregnancy, and/or to hate ourselves if we’re not devastated to end an unwanted one. Jewish law, however, is about rules and remedies, not emotions. In our tradition, babies who lived less than 30 days weren’t considered full-fledged people. “We do not mourn for fetuses, and anything which does not live for 30 days, we do not mourn for it,” wrote Maimonides in his Laws of Mourning in the Mishneh Torah. “The infant, for 30 days, even including the full 30th day (if it dies), we do not mourn for it,” said the Shulhan Arukh. That’s pretty clear and stark. But today, Jewish tradition encourages women to mourn if they want and need to... I am sure there are many of us who are horrified at the cold-hearted "logic" of the Rabbinate. Even considering this was written at a time when medical care was, well, medieval, and most children died young. But today things are different, and women should embrace their feelings. Our reality should not be relegated to some second-hand status. Let us find comfort in new rituals that are healing of our mind and spirit.