THE MIKVAH, HOW?
First and foremost we needed to prepare the space, which was limited.
Despite all the difficulties presented by the configuration of the space, it was designed to enable the construction of a Mikvah for women including 2 independent bathrooms, a Mikvah for utensils, and one for men. The conception and building of a Mikvah is not a simple task. The Mikvah itself is neither a bath nor just a simple pool. Why does it require such an investment in time, conception, and money?
The Mikvah is a complex concept, a sophisticated realization whose goal is to recreate a natural water source, a pool or water gathering…………..(Chemini 2,13) according to Torah. The idea is simple but paradoxically requires a lot of attention and effort all through the process of construction.
A 30m² block on the roof allows for the collection of rainwater. The block is perfectly smooth, while being grounded, like pools in 5 places throughout.
Water conveyance guarantees perfect water circulation, eliminating any risk of stagnation or retention.
Conduction channels are finely smoothed with river sand mortar.
Four pools made up of two Mikvahs and two rainwater tanks which require sixteen cubic meters of reinforced concrete are tightened and cast with no joints or seams in a double hull separated by insulating, antiseismique, waterproof materials.
Both rainwater pools contain the required 2,000 liters arranged in two pools of 1,000 liters each, on top of one another, and separated with a plexiglass panel (Bor al Gabé Bor). This provides a 10 x 10 cm opening allowing contact between both bodies of water. This creates a continuum while preserving the volume of rainwater. The water from the inferior pool is, in a way a background warranty, which guarantees the Mikvah’s Kashrut (Hashaka).
The women’s Mikvah has three levels, which allows height adjustments to make it more comfortable.
The Baalanit (she who is in charge of the Mikvah) may be two or three women who take turns to welcome the women of the community. The Baalanit is chosen for her discretion, graciousness and religious consciousness including her ability to respect everyone.
The Tvilah Mikvah is aimed at koshering all kitchen utensils and dishes. The mens’ Mikvah, equipped with showers, is used on Shabbat and the Eve of Holidays.
Hygiene is just as respected as the rules of Halacha. The water is changed on a regular basis. Water samples are taken systematically and special products are used to maintain the PH and clarity of the water.
Security cameras were installed to ensure the women’s safety.
A beautiful mosaic decorates the pools, which makes the Mikvah even more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
A Mikvah must fulfill six conditions:
1. A Mikvah must not be made up of any other liquid than water.
2. The Mikvah must be dug directly from the ground or be part of a building that has it’s foundation in the ground. It cannot be made up of a container likely to be dismantled and put back elsewhere such as tubs, barrels, crates etc.
3. The Mikvah water must not leak. The only exception to this rule is if it is a natural source.
4. The Mikvah water must not be drawn, i.e. it cannot be led to the Mikvah through direct human intervention.
5. The water must not be channeled to the Mikvah by anything which could become impure. Therefore no metal, clay or wood recipient may be used.
6. The Mikvah must contain at least forty “seahs”, or three cubits deep, approximately 1 thousand liters.