OU’s Department of Synagogue Services Presents Updated Mikveh Directory

17 Apr 2008

In recognition of the importance to Jewish travelers of knowing where they can obtain access to a mikveh (“ritual bath”) across North America, the Orthodox Union’s Pepa and Rabbi Joseph Karasick Department of Synagogue Services has just published a revised and expanded edition for 5678/2008 of the Orthodox Union’s Mikveh Directory. The guide is available free of charge.

The directory was compiled by Rabbi Jack Abramowitz, Associate Director of Synagogue Services, and Cordula Mermelstein, formerly a member of the Department. While the initial version of the directory contained only a listing of mikvehs, this revised edition includes an updated list, and features a foreword by OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, as well as thought-provoking articles on the subject of taharat ha’mishpacha (family purity) by Rabbi Abramowitz. Rabbi Abramowitz is the author of NCSY’s Torah on One Foot series, and contributes synopses to OU’s Nach Yomi Bible series, available on ouradio.org/nach.

“The subject of taharat hamishpacha, and the importance of mikva’ot which meet halachic (Jewish law) standards, is a subject of supreme relevance in the Jewish tradition,” declared Rabbi Weinreb. “The very essence of Jewish family life is linked with the availability of a proper mikveh and the meticulous observance of the laws of taharat hamishpacha. The fact that so many mikva’ot are available to Jewish communities across North America is a testimony to the vibrancy and commitment of the American Jew. We hope that all those who use this book as an aid in their observance of this mitzvah will find it helpful.”

Rabbi Abramowitz remarked, “We were receiving so many phone calls from people looking for mikva’ot. It was clear that it was time to update the original Mikveh Directory.” Mrs. Mermelstein added, “Why should people have to compromise their travel plans for fear of not finding a mikveh nearby? This directory makes it possible to travel with peace of mind. This is a really important OU publication for Jewish travelers.”

Rabbi Bini Maryles, Director of the Department of Synagogue Services, declared, “Taharat hamishpacha is such an integral part of the Jewish religious experience and the mitzvah of mikveh is so crucial to our observance of halacha, that securing and providing the correct and accurate information of a local mikveh is imperative. An active and continuously updated mikveh directory is something that fits that bill.”

To obtain a copy of the guide, contact the Department of Synagogue Services at synagogue@ou.org, or 212-613-8266. The directory is also available online at www.ou.org, which allows for the directory to be easily updated with additional mikva’ot.