Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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29 Adar II 5760 - April 5, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Mikveh Dedication in South Africa

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

On Sunday morning 26 Adar II, the mikveh "Be'er Chaya Esther" was officially opened in Johannesburg, South Africa.

This was a remarkable event in a Jewish community that is known to be dwindling through emigration. Just the large number of women who have already started using it before the official function shows that, in contrast to the overall Jewish community, the frum community is actually growing rapidly.

The project was initiated by Rabbi Menachem Raff of the Maharsha Community, some two years ago. He identified the need for a new mikva, and saw an opportunity to perpetuate the memory of one of his congregants, Mrs. Adele Taback z"l and her two young daughters, who had died tragically in a motor accident.

The ceremony was held in a marquee in the mikva grounds. Guests were served tea and cake and were able to tour the facilities. Various representatives of the community addressed the audience, including Rabbi Raff; Rabbi Harris, the Chief Rabbi of South Africa; Rabbi Kurtztag, the Av Beis Din; and Rabbi Auerbach, head of Ohr Somayach in South Africa. Mrs. Taback's brother Michael Miller, and two of her sons Daniel and Aryeh, also addressed the gathering. The organizer of the financing of the project, Harold Bloch, thanked the donors and called for contributions to cover the outstanding costs. The parents of Mrs. Taback, Willie and Sylvia Miller, then cut the ribbon across the entrance, symbolically opening the mikva for the community.

The facility consists of two mikvas and has ten bath rooms and a number of hair drying rooms. The halachic aspects were supervised by Rabbi Meir Posen who flew in from Israel a number of times to advise and check. He required many halachic stringencies, which he said were desirable when it comes to matters affecting taharas Yisroel. The main source of water is a bore hole with a specially designed halachic pump. The second supply is a reservoir on the roof collecting rain water.

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