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Literally, a mikveh is a “gathering of waters.” The goal is for visitors to the mikveh to emerge refreshed and renewed, ready for life’s next gifts.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a mikveh?
Literally, a mikveh is defined as a “gathering of waters.”
A mikveh will represent a pride of place in our community, linking all of us in community and opening an ancient Jewish practice to each of our everyday lives.
Ritual immersion in a mikveh marks a change in status. People immerse in a mikveh to celebrate moments of joy, to heal after times of sorrow or illness, or to commemorate transitions and changes.
The waters of a mikveh gather together naturally. One may not just use tap water. The water comes either from an underground spring or from rainwater – which may then be joined with tap water.
2. Where is the mikveh being built?
The community mikveh will be built on the Dell Jewish Community Campus — on the grounds of Congregation Agudas Achim (CAA).
3. How big will the mikveh be?
We are working with Lake/Flato Architects, Inc., the award-winning Texas firm (San Antonio) that designed CAA’s current building to design the mikveh. The size and details are still in the planning stages.
4. What is the purpose of this mikveh?
The purpose of this community mikveh is to meet a wide range of needs. The goal is for visitors to the mikveh to emerge refreshed and renewed, ready for life’s next gifts. Traditional and modern uses by men and women include:
• Conversion to Judaism
• Preparing for Shabbat and holidays
• Family purity
• Celebrations for milestone events such as:
• A graduation
• The end of a period of study
• An important birthday or anniversary
• Becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah
• A new start in the aftermath of pain and trauma
• To mark the end of formal grieving or the beginning of healing from events such as:
• Suffering a miscarriage
• Undergoing chemotherapy
• Completing a year of bereavement
• Recovering from divorce
5. What will be unique about the Austin community mikveh?
Austin’s community mikveh will be accessible and meaningful for the full diversity of our people. Located on a community campus, it embodies the inclusiveness of Austin’s Jewish community.
6. What are some misconceptions about a mikveh?
Although mikveh tends to be viewed as a women’s-only place and practice, Jewish men have been using the mikveh for centuries. While conversion to Judaism is the only occasion when immersion is required as a mitzvah — a commanded act — men have found meaning in mikveh for many other purposes.
The most traditional customary reasons men have visited mikvaot are to prepare body, mind, and spirit prior to Shabbat and holidays — especially Yom Kippur, and also prior to marriage.
7. What are the religious requirements for building the mikveh?
The community mikveh will be a “kosher” or “proper” mikveh, built and maintained under the supervision of Rabbi Blumofe, with consultation of a rabbi who has specialized in the halachot (laws and procedures) of building mikvaot, and with the input of community-wide rabbinic partners.
8. What is your fundraising goal?
Our goal is to raise at least $300,000 for the construction of the mikveh and the operating endowment fund (to support the mikveh after it is built). As of April 2015, we have $170.00 in pledges.
Mikveh Benefactor – $10,000+ over 3 years – name on board, invited to mikveh party
Mikveh Patron – $5,000-$9,999 over 3 years – name on board, invited to mikveh party
Mikveh Champion – $50/month for 3 years ($1,800) – invited to mikveh party
Mikveh Supporter – $10/month for 3 years ($360) – invited to mikveh party