Mikveh tour

A new mikveh recently opened near my house.

You enter through a long, covered walkway. The walkway is unsightly on the outside and caused quite a bit of controversy because the proper municipal approval hadn’t been obtained. It turned out that the walkway blocks the view from someone’s front window. Considering how much money must have already been “sunk” into this mikveh, I can only imagine that the apartment owners were somehow compensated, and the matter died down.

You already get a hint of grandeur inside the walkway, which is decorated with rocks and plants; there is even is a fishpond.

When I got inside the building, it was nearly empty. In the other neighborhood mikveh, which contains about 14 rooms, it isn’t unusual to wait 30-60 minutes.

This time the balanit told that I was going to be “mitpaneket” (spoiled), and led me to the bride’s room.

Most Israeli mikvaot don’t provide toiletries, but this one does. You still need to bring your own towel, or pay extra. By the way, this is a sink (I had to identify it for my husband).

Here is the best shot I could get of the small preparation room. The translucent glass doors allow sound to come through. But the other mikveh has an inefficient air-conditioning system causing unbearable noise in the summer.

I haven’t figured out yet what made this room so special that it is reserved for brides. Every preparation room has the same elaborate fixtures. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen any brides at the new mikveh yet. It’s probably because in the other mikveh, brides (and anyone who is willing to pay extra) get a large room with the mikveh (immersion pool) right inside. Here there are only two mikvaot and five separate preparation rooms.

After you are finished, you push a button on the wall to notify the balanit (mikveh attendant). It looks just like a light-switch, so it took me a while to figure out what to do. Immediately the sound of an electronic version of Mozart’s 40th began blaring. (I had to hum that one for my husband in order to identify it for you. He’s the music expert around here.) In the other mikveh, you push a buzzer which sounds briefly and turns on a light on a central board with your room number. Here, the balanit tells you to turn off the music yourself before everyone goes insane.

For the record, this mikveh is supervised by the local religious authority and costs the same as every other mikveh in town- NIS 15 (about $4).

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Comments

  1. mominisrael says:

    I didn’t mean to imply it was, just that all of the mikvaot in town cost the same.

  2. At the Mikvaot I go to in Jerusalem, you pay 20 NIS if you’ve prepared at home, and 30 NIS if you haven’t. They provide towels, and also minimal toiletries. So I guess policy isn’t uniform among the various cities.

  3. mominisrael says:

    There is a mikveh review site in Hebrew, but I haven’t seen it myself.

  4. Now there would be a cool blog. Best and Worst Mikvaot in the World, or Mikvaot all Over the World. Is there one? I know people, uh hem, who could write it, for sure contribute

  5. Very fancy!
    Shiloh’s “new” mikvah, which replaced the original (modern, not Biblical) is in a very public place, thought convenient. No buzzer; call “yoohoo.” One mikvah for three prep rooms, but it has the world’s nicest balanit.

  6. mominisrael says:

    Abbi, I think Batya *is* the balanit.

  7. Sorry Batya, I’m sure your balanit in Shiloh is extremely nice, but the worlds nicest balanit is in the Katamon Mikveh. :D. I really miss her. They charge 20 for no prep, 30 for prep and you get toiletries and towels. They were trying to raise money for an overhaul, but it was fairly decent.

  8. I’ve been to a few Mikvaot in various Israeli cities and a couple in “America,” too. I liked the rather old-fashioned one in Mevaseret. I lived there for a few years, and though it wasn’t at all fancy (5 prep rooms for one mikvah, old looking, nothing too special about the brides room – it had a bathtub?), I really liked it, even better than the fancy mikvah in Telzstone where I went before my wedding. I’ve only been to the mikvah here 3 or 4 times (expecting my second since we moved in), but I just liked the Mevaseret atmosphere – maybe I was just used to it, and it was closer to my house…And my exceptionally amazing neighbor was one of the balaniot

  9. I am stopping myself from commenting what I want to comment…

  10. It looks very nice, Mom. The mikvah here in Modiin is okay. I still don’t feel totally comfortable here–I get a little anxious every month…
    PS Can we push off our “date” till after Pesach?–between work, ulpan and Pesach, I don’t think I’ll have time!

  11. mominisrael says:

    Baila–no problem. I have posts to write, you know.

  12. It looks great!

  13. Oops, sorry batya, didn’t realize that.
    I still think the katamon balanit is the best!

  14. Lion of Zion says:

    i’m glad i read this one at home, even without the pink background.
    so do hassidim get to use this mikvah during the day?

  15. mominisrael says:

    LOZ, I think there are a few private mikvaot for men who go daily or before Shabbat. They open the public ones for Erev RH and YK.

  16. mominisrael says:

    Nikki, if they would only take a dry cloth and wipe all of the fixtures at the end of the night, the avnit wouldn’t buildup. But they won’t,and that’s why most mikvaot look like they do.

  17. oh my goodness — who is going to clean the avnit off of all that clear glass?

  18. Just a note on mikvah differences. American ones generally don’t charge different prices for using the bath or just getting a shower before dipping. Most put out everything, from toothbrushes to saline solution for the patrons’ use. And for your tznius files, the Far Rockaway one had a kit that included a shower cap. Obviously, one can’t wear a shower cap while doing chafifa, so its purpose is to keep hair covered on the walk from the prep room to the mikvah.
    Prices seem to be $18-$20 on average, from what I’ve seen, though the Far Rockaway one offers a membership option of $180 for use for the year.

  19. mominisrael says:

    We didn’t get toothbrushes and saline solution when I lived in the US. I haven’t worn contact lenses in years–too much sand over here. “for your tznius files”–funny line.

  20. Ariella, our mikvah in Highland Park, New Jersey charges only $15/person. And that includes many amenities like the ones you mentioned. My guess is that the fees don’t cover all the costs.

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