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Apr 27, 2010

Splitting the mikva or splitting the community

The mikva fight in RBS that came to air over the past few days is one of those volatile tinder boxes that could destroy the seemingly peaceful atmosphere that generally prevails in the neighborhood.

For those not from RBS who don't know what is going on, an email was sent to the local neighborhood email list mentioning that the haredim are trying to take control of the Dolev Mikva, and also mentioned a number of problems already on the haredi half of the split mikva that will be exacerbated if they are allowed to take over and control the whole mikva. The writer asked that women call the mayor to complain, and by doing so help to thwart the takeover.

A response to that email was sent in the name of a rav who said the contents of the email were not true, for more information be in touch privately.

After that a number of other people wrote to the list each stating their perception of the problem with the mikva takeover bid.

Here is the background as I understand it. There was originally one mikva built in the neighborhood. That one mikva also had a fight at the time over who would control it, and control was split between the general community, headed by the "moetza ha'datit" - religious council responsible for mikvas and eruvs and other religious services, and the second half, dubbed the "mehudar mikva" for some reason (strange since they were built together, so the hiddur was really just in having haredi "balaniot") controlled by the local Haredi rabbonim.

And peace reigned. For the most part. Over the years there were problems and little fights. but overall, peace reigned.

Then the city built a second mikva - the Dolev Mikva. Again, control was split by the Moetza HaDatit controlling the "left side" and the local Haredi rabbonim controlling the right side.

And peace reigned supreme.

At that point, the original mikva, which was always considered problmeatic and poorly contructed and designed, was closed for repairs. It remained closed for a long time, and is still closed, rendering the Dolev Mikva to be the only mikva in the neighborhood.

And then the Mikva was politicized. It was used in a deal negotiated on behalf of coalition stability. It was used in horsetrading - the Dati Leumi representative agreed that the DL community (i.e. the Moetza Datit) would control the Lachish Mikva when it would reopen, and the Haredim would eventually take over the Dolev Mikva. This was in exchange for a guarantee that the Dati Leumi would retain control over the Moetza HaDatit and their guy, Ben-Margi, would be left in charge of the Council and not be replaced.

And peace reigned supreme.

And then RBS G came to a vote. The DL reps voted against, and the mayor tossed them out of the council coalition. And then, ripped up the agreement to keep Ben-Margi in his position, and instead replaced him with a Shas guy, Yehuda Medzizda.

Despite the fact that that half of the agreement was deemed null and void because B'Yachad was no longer part of the coalition, the second half of the agreement, the part about the mikvas, is still on the slate for being implemented.

So now, as the Ashkenazy Haredi rabbonim are pressuring Abutbol to come through and implement the original agreement, the DL community is upset that they are getting short shifted. They lost the Moetza HaDatit, and they are losing the mikva.

On the one hand, by law the mayor has no say in this. And it is political interference for him to influence religious services with political bartering. And the Moetza HaDatit, by law, is the only body authorized to provide these services, and no private party can control a city religious service. Build a private mikva/ No problem. But not a city mikva.

On the other hand, the DL rep, ostensibly with the, perhaps tacit, authorization of the community they represent - isn't that the definition of appointing a leader to represent the community? that they have the right to speak on behalf of the community because they seemingly know what the community wants and what is in its best interests? - was willing to give up the Dolev Mikva and take only the Lachish Mikva, despite knowing that it is a lousy mikva.

So, if they were willing to take the Lachish Mikva then, and give up the Dolev Mikva, why complain about it now?

I understand complaining about the agreement being only partially implemented, to the detriment of the DL community. But complaining about the details of the Dolev Mikva and the way it is run and what might happen if it is taken over by the Haredim, that is something they were ok with until now, and only because they lost the Moetza HaDatit are they upset about this. It seems a bit disingenuous of them.

There are issues about the way the mikva is run, and I know some of the issues were resolved over the past few days as the rabbonim were approached and told what the facts on the ground are about how the balaniot deal with certain situations, but that is really just putting out fires and not really indicative of running the mikva with reason.

Of course, the issue of the law remains, and it remains a question how the mikva could be bartered when the law says it has to be in the hands of the Moetza HaDatit. Perhaps it is simply a matter of being willing to just look away on behalf of communal peace (assuming it was under agreement), but this is one avenue that can be pursued.

Another issue is that Mayor Moshe Abutbol has refused to meet with the DL representatives to discuss possible solutions. He is supposedly coming under heavy pressure by the Ashkenazy rabbonim and askanim to transfer control of the Dolev Mikva, and does not seem, as usual, to be able to stand up to them.

I don't understand why this is an issue right now, as the Lachish Mikva is still not open. Perhaps it is goign to open very soon. I don't know. But even if the original agreement is goign to be upheld, fairly or unfairly, it should not be done so before the Lachish Mikva is reopened.

Also, the agreement is not really logical, as Dolev is really the higher concentration of the Masorati and Dati community, while Lachish is more of a concentration of the Haredi community. So the control is being given in a backwards way. Except for the fact that Dolev is a better constructed mikva, so even though it doesnt make much sense based on location, that is the one everybody prefers.

The DL and Sefardi communities are trying to apply pressure back on Abutbol by enlisting Rav Ovadia Yosef. Abutbol is listening to the Ashkenazim, and perhaps getting Rav Ovadiah to state his opinion on the matter, about how sefardi women are being forced to dip in ways that do not conform with Sefardi halacha (lchatchila at least), that might apply opposing pressure on Abutbol to rethink the matter.

So, I think the DL argument, except on specific "how the women are treated and checked" issue, which I dont want to get into, is disingenuous, because they were willing to give up Dolev and are protesting it now because they are now losing everything. At the same time, if the first half of the agreement was nulled out and voided, the second half should be as well. Along with the law. Along with the question of whether the mikva, and other religious, services should be part of political barter at all.

One thing I don't understand is why the current arrangement cannot remain in place. Why not let the mikva remain split in half, if that has allowed peace to reign until now, and let the Haredim control the right half and the DL control the left half. Why is there a need to take over the whole mikva? This is something I don't understand.

One more thing, the numbers supposedly are clear that almost 2/3 of the women using the Dolev mikva (again, for the past year at least, the only mikva in the neighborhood) are using the DL side. They know this based on the payments collected on both sides. While the Haredi side might be more crowded in general, that is probably because the balaniot are taking upwards of 15-20 minutes to check each woman, thus causing a long line to form, while on the DL side they are moving women along at a brisker pace.

My recommendation, worthless as it is, is to allow us all to continue living peacefully together, and allow the current arrangements to continue with the mikva split in half, allowing women to continue using whichever side they want (even though this solution is not ideal).

The following letter (translation after the original Hebrew) is written by Rav Nir Vargon, Rav of the Ramat Shalom shul and community.

שערוריות הפוליטיזציה של שירותי הדת בבית שמש/ ניר ורגון

נפתח בחידה: מי צריך לפקח על מקווה של המועצה הדתית אשר בנייתו והוצאותיו השוטפות ממומנים מכספיה של המועצה הדתית, ואשר שני שליש מהטובלות בו מעוניינות בפיקוח של המועצה הדתית אבל מצד שני לחרדים האשכנזים יש כוח חזק במועצת העיר? אם עניתם שהמועצה הדתית צריכה לפקח, תשובתכם נכונה לכל מקום בעולם, חוץ מבית שמש.

ברמת בית שמש א' ברחוב נחל דולב, ישנו מקווה חדש יחסית, שנבנה מכספי המועצה הדתית והוצאותיו השוטפות מקופת המועצה הדתית.

לאחר הבחירות בהם התחזק הציבור החרדי האשכנזי באופן משמעותי, החליטו הרבנים החרדים האשכנזים שיש לתרגם את הכוח הפוליטי לשליטה על המקווה, והחתימו את ראש העיר החדש מר משה אבוטבול על הסכם קואליציוני (להלן "ההסכם הידוע לשמצה"), שלפיו המקווה בדולב יעבור לשליטה חרדית אשכנזית מלאה, ונשים שאינם מעוניינות בבדיקות הקפדניות והמתמשכות הנהוגות אצלם ולקבל את פסקיהם המחמירים, ייאלצו ללכת למקווה ישן יותר, קטן יותר, ומרוחק יותר בנחל לכיש.

כמובן יש לציין שהסכם ידוע לשמצה זה, לא עבר את מליאת המועצה הדתית והוא נחתם על ידי ראש העיר בטרם נכנס לתפקידו באופן רשמי, כך שאין לו שום תוקף רשמי.

הסכם זה לא יושם מיד, כיוון שהמקווה בלכיש נכנס להליך של שיפוצים. בינתיים הוסכם שהמקווה בדולב יחולק לשנים. אגף רגיל בהשגחת המועצה הדתית, ואגף חרדי שלמרות היותו ממומן על ידי המועצה הדתית, הפיקוח בו הוא של הרב דודוביץ' ושות' חברי עמותת "מים טהורים" החרדית האשכנזית. באגף זה הבדיקות קפדניות ביותר באופן שאינו מחוייב על פי עיקר הדין, ובכל שאלה הלכתית פונים אך ורק לרב דוידוביץ' ושות', שאינם ידועים כמקילים דגולים. הסיבה לפיצול היא שבעיני הרב דודוביץ' ושות', הרב ביטון רב העיר והרב ספקטור האחראי על המקוואות אינם נחשבים רבנים. יש לציין שהסדר זה רחוק מלהיות כשר למהדרין מבחינה חוקית.

מנתוני התשלום למקווה בהסדר הזה עולה, שרק כשליש מהטובלות משתמשות בחצי החרדי האשכנזי, ואילו שני שליש מהטובלות משתמשות בחצי שבפיקוח של המועצה הדתית.

בעקבות הדחתו של ראש המועצה הדתית מהמפד"ל והחלפתו באיש ש"ס יהודה מדזדה, החליטו הרבנים החרדים האשכנזים שהגיע העת לקבל שליטה על כל המקוואות, גם בלכיש וגם בדולב בניגוד להסכם הידוע לשמצה. בעקבות פעילות נמרצת של רבני רמת בית שמש ונציגות הנשים יוזמה זו נבלמה. אך ראש העיר בליווי הרב דוידוביץ', נציג הרבנים החרדים האשכנזים, כפה על רב העיר הרב ביטון את יישום ההסכם הידוע לשמצה בפגישה שבה הושמץ הרב ספקטור ולא הורשה להשתתף.

כל מאמציהם של רבני הקהילות ברמת בית שמש א', ונציגות נשי רמת בית שמש א' להיפגש עם ראש העיר ולהניאו מההחלטה, עלו בתוהו. לראש העיר אין זמן להיפגש עם נציגי הציבור ברמת בית שמש א' אלא רק עם הרב דוידוביץ', נציג החרדים האשכנזים.

מדוע אני מכנה הסכם זה הסכם הידוע לשמצה?

מפני שמועצה דתית מקומית אמורה לספק שירותי דת בהתאם לצורכי הציבור ולא בהתאם לכוח פוליטי והסכם קואליציוני.

האם יעלה על הדעת שחרדים אשכנזים יקבלו מים נקיים וזולים יותר, גז מהיר וזול יותר רק מפני שהם זכו בבחירות?

האם יעלה על הדעת שעירייה תנהל מדיניות, על פי הסכמים שנחתמו בחדרי חדרים, בלי לעבור את מועצת העיר?

האם יעלה על הדעת שראש העיר יכתיב לרב העיר ולראש המועצה הדתית כיצד לנהל את המקוואות, ולמעשה יפקיע מסמכותם את ניהול המקוואות?

האם יעלה על הדעת שראש העיר פוגע בשני שליש מציבור הנשים ברמת בית שמש א', מבלי שהוא מוכן אפילו להיפגש איתם ועם רבניהם?

בכינוס חירום של "וועד הפעולה למען השוויון בשירותי הדת", שהתקיים במוצאי שבת ד' אייר הוחלט שלא יעלה על הדעת. אנחנו יוצאים למאבק לשימור המצב בו כל קבוצה תקבל מקווה לפי צרכיה. בוועד הפעולה שותפים רבני רמת בית שמש א' הרב יוסף אדרי – 'משכן אברהם ומאיר', הרב שי נפתלי – 'בית הכנסת הספרדי רמת שילה',הרב בועז מורי – ראש ישיבת 'לב התורה', הרב יצחק עמיאור –בית הכנסת הספרדי 'אור ברמה', הרב רפאל רונס – 'בן צבי', הרב ניר ורגון – 'רמת שלום', הרב דניאל דרייר – 'נחלי תפילה', הרב חיים סולובייצ'יק –'אור שלום', הרב דניאל מאיירס – 'מנורת המאור' הרב איתיאל אריאל –'המרכזי האשכנזי', הרב מנחם קופרמן –'אהבת ציון', הרב זאב רונס – 'רמת שילה', ונציגות הנשים , ועוד נציגי ציבור.

אל תטעו, לא מדובר כאן על מאבק על מקוואות ברמת בית שמש א', אלא על צביונה של בית שמש כולה, ואולי גם על צביונה של המדינה כולה. מדוע?

האוכלוסיה החרדית האשכנזית מתרבה בכל המדינה, לא רק בבית שמש, ועיני איננה צרה בכך. אנו שמחים על כל תינוק יהודי שנולד תמיד, על אחת כמה וכמה במצבנו הדמוגרפי היום. אבל המשמעות של תהליך זה היא, שבשנים הקרובות האוכלוסיה החרדית האשכנזית תטפוס יותר ויותר עמדות שליטה בשילטון המקומי והארצי. אם לא נאבק על זכויותינו מול הכוח הפוליטי החרדי האשכנזי, אם לא נרגיל את הפוליטיקאים החרדים האשכנזים שהם חייבים להתחשב ולדאוג לצרכיהם של מי שאינו כמותם, מדינת ישראל תהפוך להיות מקום שקשה מאוד לחיות בו.

אבל אם נאבק ונצליח, אזי יש תקווה לחיים של אחווה שלום ורעות בין כל השבטים והעדות בישראל.

הכותב הוא רב בית הכנסת "רמת שלום" ברמת בית שמש א'

בשם וועד הפעולה למען השוויון בשירותי הדת

(my translation)

The Scandal of the Politicization of the Religious Services in Bet Shemesh, by Nir Vargon
We will start with a riddle: Who needs to supervise over the mikva of the Moetza HaDatit that was built and paid for by funding from the Moetza HaDatit, and where 2/3 of the women dipping in it are interested in the supervision by the MOetza HaDatit, yet from the other side, the Ashkenazy Haredim have a lot of power in the City Council?
If you answered that the Moetza HaDatit needs to be doign the supervision, your answer would be right everywhere in the world, except in Bet Shemesh.
In RBS A on Nahal Dolev there is a fairly new mikva, that was built with Moetza HaDatit funds, and is maintained from the Moetza HaDatit funds.
After the last elections, in which the Ashkenazy Haredi community was considerably strengthened, the Ashkenazi Haredi rabbonim decided to convert their political strength to cotrol over the mikva, and they signed an agreement with the new mayor, Moshe Abutbol, on a coalition agreement, in which it was agreed that the mikva of Nahal Dolev would be transferred to complete control by the Ashkenazy Haredim, and women not interested in the rigorous and lengthy inspections as is common by them, and not interested in using their stringent halachic decisions, can go to the older, smaller, mikva that is firther away on Nahal Lachish.
Of course, it should be stated, the agreement never passed the plenum of the Moetza HaDatit and was signed by the mayor before he officially took office, and therefore has no official validity.
The agreement was not implemented right away, as the mikva on Nahal Lachish was undergoing renovations. in the meantime, it was agreed that the Dolev Mikva would be split in two. The "regular" wing under the supervision of the Moetza HaDatit, and the "Haredi" wing despite being funded by the Moetza HaDatit. The supervision of Rav Davidovitz and partners as members of the
Haredi Ashkenazy amuta "Mayim Tehorim". In this wing the inspections are extremely strict in a way that is not obligatory according to the halacha, and any question that arises, the question is directed only to Rav Davidovitz and his amuta partners, who are not known as great "meikilim". The reason for the split is because in the eyes of Rav Davidovitz and partners, Rav Biton, the rav of Bet Shemesh, and Rav Spektor, the rav responsible for the city mikvas, are not considered rabbonim. It should be noted that this arrangement is far from being "kosher l'mehadrin" according to the law.
From analyzing the mikva payments under the current arrangements, it turns out that only 1/3 of the women dipping are using the "Haredi side", while 2/3 of the women dipping are using the side supervised by the Moetza HaDatit.
In the wake of the Head of the Moetza HaDatit from the Mafdal party being pushed out, and being replaced by Yehuda Medzida of Shas, the Ashkenazi Haredi rabbonim have decided that the time has come to take control over all the mikvas., on Lachish and on Dolev, against even the notorious agreement.
Due to furious activity by the rabbonim of RBS, and female representatives, this was thwarted. But the mayor, with Rav Davidovitz, the representative of the Ashkenazi Haredi rabbonim, forced upon the rav of the city Rav Biton the agreement and its implementation in a meeting in which Rav Spektor was vilified and was not allowed to participate in.
All efforts of the community rabbonim of RBS A, and the female representatives of RBS A, to meet with the mayor and to try to convince him to reverse his decision, have failed. The mayor doesn't have the time to meet with the community representatives of RBS A, but only with Rav Davidovitz, the rep of the Ashkenazi Haredim.
Why do I call the agreement "notorious"?
Because the local Moetza HaDatit is supposed to provide religious services in accordance with the needs of the community, and not based on political power and coalition agreements.
Is it conceivable that Ashkenazi Haredim should get cleaner and cheaper water, more efficient and cheaper gas, just because they won elections?
Is it conceivable that the City Council should direct a policy, according to agreements signed in back rooms, without passing them through the City Council?
Is it conceivable that the mayor should dictate to the rav of the city and the head of the Moetza HaDatit how to manage the mikvas, thereby taking away their authority in managing the mikvas?
Is it conceivable that the mayor would offend 2/3 of the women of RBS A, without even being willing to meet with them and with their rabbonim?
In an emergency meeting of the "Action Committee for Equality in Religious Services", that met on Motzei Shabbos, 4 Iyyar, it was decided that this is not conceivable. We are going to fight to maintain the status of every group having a mikva that meets its needs.
The Action Committee is made up of the following rabbonim of RBS A: Rav Yosef Edri, rav of Mishkan Avraham u'Meir; Rav Shai Naftali - Bet Knesset Sfardi Ramat Shilo; Rav Boaz Mori - Rosh Yeshivat Lev HaTorah; Rav Yitzchak Amior - Sfardi Bet Knesset Ohr B'Rama; Rav Raphael Ronnes - Ben Zvi; Rav Nir Vargon - Ramat Shalom; Rav Daniel Dryer - Nachalei Tefilla; Rav Chaim Soloveitchik - Ohr Shalom; Rav Daniel Myers - Menorat HaMaor; Rav Itiel Ariel - Central Ashkenazi; Rav Menachem Dopperman - Ahavat Tzion; Rav Zev Ronnes - Ramat Shilo, along with female representatives and other community leaders.
Don't be mistaken, We are not talking about a fight for the mikvas of RBS, rather over the character of RBS in general, and perhaps the character of the whole State.
The Ashkenazi Haredi community is growing all over the country, not just in Bet Shemesh, and I am not opposed to that. I am overjoyed for the birth of every jewish child, always, and especially in our current demographic situation. But the ramifications of this process is that in the coming years the Ashkenazi Haredi community will take more and more leadership positions, in local and national government. if we do not fight for our rights against the political power of the Ashkenazi Haredim, if we don't train the Ashkenazi Haredi politicians that they need to be considerate and concerned for the needs of others, the State will become a place in which it will be very difficult to live.
But we will fight and we will succeed, and there is hope for the ability to live in peace and harmony between all the tribes and ethnicities in the nation.
The author is the rav of Ramat Shalom in RBS A
In the name of the Action Committee for the Equality of Religious Services

I am actually very surprised by this, as I know Rav Davidovitz personally and he is not an extremist, and he is not a big machmir especially in inyanei taharas hamishpacha. For him to be running a "takeover" or a "land grab" just to be in control is not like him at all, so I don't understand the motives behind it.

Again, my recommendation, worthless as it is, is to allow us all to continue living peacefully together, and allow the current arrangements to continue with the mikva split in half, allowing women to continue using whichever side they want (even though this solution is not ideal).

Please follow two rules when commenting on this:
  1. if you are going to comment on any wording of the letter, please only comment on the Hebrew version. The English version is my translation and perhaps I used words that are not accurate and whose meaning was not intended by the original author.
  2. Please keep comments on topic and respectful. Preferably trying to find solutions to the problem.
Feel free to correct anything I wrote if you have better information, a better or more accurate understanding of the situation or if I made any mistakes or inaccuracies.


  1. Thanks for posting an original comment from someone who is involved.

    How is it that Rav Bitton was "forced" into the agreement?

    Has the "charedi" side offered any explanation as to the merit of their claim or the reason why a woman should use their side specifically?

    This whole thing is mechzei kishtei toros in addition to causing a chilul Hashem.

  2. Have you heard rumors about R. Malinowitz leaving Beis Tefila?

  3. Maybe the Chareidi Rabbonim are getting nervous that so many people are using the left side of the Mikvah. They realize that people are becoming smart, making their own choices and not listening to them. What else can the Rabbomin do?! They must control this community. By taking over the Mikvah they will have say in what happens in our personal and private lives. Its time for the women to stand up. Lets not be afraid. It will only make RBS a better place for us and our future generations. We want to be treated respectfully and it is our mitzvah. We are adults and we can make decisions as to how we want to tovel. Thank you to the Normal Rabbonim in this community who are standing up and fighting for Emes.

  4. I'm Anonymous TooApril 21, 2010 11:18 AM

    "Its time for the women to stand up. Lets not be afraid."

    So why did you post as "anonymous"?

  5. For anyone who thinks that this supposed extra checking by a trained mikve lady is required by halacha, please see Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Dea 198:40

    If your too lazy to get up, you can look at it here:

    The only reason you need a "mikve lady" is to make sure all the hair goes under.
    Everything else the woman can check herself. It is a nice (but not required) service to have a mikve lady who know the relevant halachos who can help a woman who asks for help if she isn't sure about something or if she is having trouble checking etc.

    If there is really any difference in the actual mikvaos, or they are employing women who don't have neemanus to say that the hair went under (such as a nochris or chas veshalom someone who sends her child to the "wrong school":) please inform the public.

  6. I have not heard such a rumor and do not believe it to be true.

    How was he forced? same way anybody forces anybody to do anythign.. a lot of pressure. maybe threats that he will not be reappointed. Maybe certain issues he wants dealt with wont be dealt with. That I dont know, but how he was forced doesnt bother me, nor does it even interest me.

  7. I see 2 reasons why Rav Davidovitz would do this, even though it looks to be so unlike him:

    1. he himself would not do it on his own. Maybe he is being pushed by the other Haredi rabbonim. I heard one other name as being actively involved in pushing Abutbol. But it all gets mentioned under Rav Davidovitz's name because he is in charge of the amuta and is the official rep. SO ti might not be all him.

    2. While he is not a kannoi or a machmir, as you say, but he does not respect the DL rabbonim. He probably looks at the left half to be unsupervised, as the DL don't and can't supervise. If it is unsupervised, perhaps he feels obligated to take it over and make it kosher and supervised.

  8. Sources close to Rav Ben-Margi told me that what they 'agreed' to at the time of setting up the coalition was never an agreement but rather a threat by Abutbul that if they don't sign the paper they will get nothing. Rav Ben Margi had no intention of implementing the 'agreement' and indeed that was the case all the time he remained yoshev rosh of the mo'atza datit and the Ashkenazi Rabanim knew there was nothing they could do about it. Now that there has been a change in yoshev rosh they are pushing to take control. The dati-leumi Rabanim are trying to present this as a DL/Sefardi campaign against the Askenazi Charedi Rabanim but the truth is the prominent Sefardi Charedi Rabanim such as Rav Amsalem and Rav Sharabani have not joined in.
    I suggest that if the mikve is handed over to the Ashkenazi Rabanim then the Women who are against it should block the entrance to the mikve and not allow any one to dip! Like this http://tinyurl.com/y7e8uw3

  9. I always go to the charedi side of the dolev mikvah. The reason that the chareidim should get teh whole thing is because there is always a HUGE line waiting to get into the charadi side and no line at all with empty rooms on the DL side. There are just much more people who want to go to the other one. It's really very silly if you ask me.

  10. Are these the Rabbonim behind Rav Davidowitz?

    Rabbis Kornfeld, Malinowitz, and Goldstein?

    I think we need to clarify just who is involved in the Chareidi Ashkenazi side.

  11. If this is a case of misappropriation and politicization of a public service then has anyone thought of turning to Bagatz to get a restraining order? Force needs to be countered by force.

  12. I suggest if the charedim take over the mikva then all Women should use the keilim mikva outside. That will get the Charedi Rabanim to come up with a solution quick :-)

  13. Shimon - great banner. Thanks for the info about Rav Ben Margi's position and what happened.

    anonymous - as I said, they analyzed the money and found that 2/3 of the money coming into the mikva is coming in on the left side. That means, no matter how crowded either side is or is not, the majority of women are using the left side.
    Unless you have a different explanation. Are the haredi women paying less? maybe they get it cheaper? I have heard form people that they both charge the same, so unless haredi women are getting in without paying full price, it is probably not true. if they are not paying full price,. that might be another reason why the haredi side is busier - it is cheaper so the women go there.

    The main reason, i think , that the haredi side is busier is because of the traffic jams caused by the longer checking of the balaniot. Maybe there are other reasons.

  14. I have heard it is being considered. I know they are meeting with some government ministers about this to see what options they have. I dont know details though about that.

  15. Anonymous from 12:28 who said that more people go to the charedi side:
    Did you read the post?
    2/3 of the women go to the left side.
    The charedi side is a longer line, because they take longer with 15 minute checks. Why can't the women just take a kalla class and learn to do a proper chafifa? If they want extra service maybe they should pay extra?

  16. Regardless of how one feels about the halachic merits of the different sides, the disrespect shown by the mayor in refusing to meet with the representatives of the "other side" shows what this is about. [I heard this charge from R' Soloveichik as well, who mentioned it this past shabbos]

    To all of those who voted for Abutbol because he'd be a "strong and effective leader," I'm glad you got what you wanted. Hopefully he won't turn on you, too.

    To all of those who voted for Abutbol because he promised to listen more carefully to the concerns of residents (especially RBS ones), well, you can be glad he's listening, even if it's only with one ear.

    To all of those who voted for parties which stressed fairness and democracy... there's no positive side. You've been thrown under the bus (and not just the 11...).

  17. Mayor for All of (Some of) the PeopleApril 21, 2010 1:05 PM

    The mikve is not the issue, it's just a symptom.

    The same issue that puts tznius signs at the Merkaz.

    The same issue that tried to "charediaze" (w/o success) the Dolev mall.

    The same issue that caused Ko Tomar so much grief over their building.

    The same issue that allows suspected pedophiles to walk our streets while victims are ostracized.

    The same issue that allows Lema'an Achai posters and banners to be ripped down (or not put up at all).

    Like it or not, RBSA is moving to the right, fast and furious.

    If you are "in the way" and won't tow their line you'll be mowed over.

  18. mikeage,

    What are the "Halachic merits" of both sides (specifically the charedi side)?
    Care to elaborate?

  19. No, I don't... because I can't.

    I don't tovel in a mikvah very frequently [I definitely don't do so in order to ascend to Har Habayis], and I'm hardly an expert in either mikvah building or tevillah.

    However, I am well aware that there are machlokesim, and that many people want to be medakdek in this mitzvah. The way to do that is to (a) build the mikvah to as high a standard as feasible and then (b) tovel as best as possible.

    However, others don't always want to do this. One who holds that certain details of checking are unnecessary should not waste his [or more likely her] time, nor should one who is on a level where the intense inspection can be discouraging be forced to endure this.

    There are also issues where it's not an issue of "necessary or not" but both sides hold their shittah to be, lechatchila, better [cf. tevillah on Friday night bein hashmashos vs. after tzeis]. In these cases, obviously everyone should be permitted [and indeed, encouraged] to follow their poskim and minhagim.

    I am sure any of the Rabbonim involved, on either side of the issue, would be happy to clarify any issues of dispute (I'm not saying ask for a pesak, but I'm sure that just as R' Malinowitz would be glad to tell you what he prefers that R' Spektor doesn't require, R' Spektor would be happy to explain why he doesn't feel it's necessary.) There is also an issue of knowing what the tzibbur will accept; I presume that R' Kornfeld is no more aware of the feelings of R' Vargon's kehillah than R' Vargon would know what R' Kornfeld's tzibbur needs and wants.

    The solution, in a functional society, is either (a) dialog and cooperation or (b) separation.

    Attempting to illegally [R' Soloveichik's characterization] reallocate communal funds and property is never a good idea.

    Perhaps the mikvah should permit and encourage women to just bring their own balaniot... after all, don't they go to the bathroom in pairs already ;)

  20. What does that mean that there are two sides to the mikva? To separate areas to dip? For those of us not from RBS, can you tell us why you have this, or why it makes any sense?

  21. Rafi,
    the original agreement was that the Dolev Mikveh would be handed over to the Charedi Rabbonim for a period of 7 monthes or until the private Charedi Mikveh on Nachal Luz would be completed, whichver takes place first. At that point both the Lachish and Dolev Mikvaos would change hands.
    Since then
    1. the Mafdal was run of the coalition and the Religious Council
    2. There is no money nor approval from the authorities to even begin construction on the Luz Mikve
    Hence the DL community, having no spot in the coalition and having lost the Religious Council, suspects that if the Dolev Mikveh is given over to R Davidowitz it won't be handed back to them ever.

  22. We happen to ask shailas to all of the Rabbanim involved, so we hold of both sides. So, I've been on both sides at Dolev. Whenever a shaila came up it was resolved - I was never sent home for the night.

    But, Rav Spektor has trained the balaniot to handle some set of basic shailas, so that when I had questions many were answered either directly or by looking in a sefer. When I had questions on the Charedi side, the Rav was always asked, which meant on Shabbos I walked over and waited outside Rav Davidovitch's shul to ask him at the end (the Rebbetzin helped me whew...) and otherwise the Rabbanim were called.

    The outcome from my perspective was the same, the difference was how the shaila was processed. (Which might be why there are longer wait times on the Charedi side.)

    [I don't have nail tips/etc. or other semi-permanent chatzitzot, so I can't say whether there's a difference in policy on those.]

    I have had balaniot on the DL side tell me to dunk again because my feet were touching but on the Charedi side the balanit of the evening didn't consider that an issue (there are differences of practice on this). I have had a balanit on the Charedi side completely forget to put the towel on my head for the bracha but never on the DL side. None of these things are absolute halacha, but it just shows you that when you put away the labels you just get differences between balaniot anywhere.

    I don't understand something - is the new head of the Moetza Datit also DL, or Charedi? How does Rav Spektor fit into the chain of command, and could he be "ousted"?

  23. Shira the new head of the Religious Council is a Shas rep.

  24. Here is from R. Malinowitz's drasha behaalosech 5769:

    The first was the e-mail that the Shul sent out about the Mikvah. The new Mikvah on Dolev now has a new section, which is under what we could call a Mehadrin Hashgacha. The other section of the Mikva remains, as the Mikva'os in RBS A always were (with the exception of the upstairs Lachish on Friday nights), under the regular Rabbanut B.S. Hashgacha.

    I was surprised by some of the reactions to the email. Some responses made me realize that people never realized or thought that they have to look to see whose Hashgacha the local Mikva'os are under, whereas other e-mail responses questioned the need for a higher degree of Hashgacha at all. Is the "lower" standard chas veshalom possul?

    We live in a very complicated world today. Long gone are the days when one would either take care of their own Mitzvah requirements or one personally knew the other person in their town or neighborhood, like the Shochet or the Sofer, that would do so for them. We have no choice today other than to rely on hashgachos and hechsherim for virtually all of our Jewish needs. But then the next question inevitably arises - what is the difference between one Hashgacha and the next? Does a mehadrin Hashgacha imply that non-mehadrin is chas veshalom traif?

    The difference almost always is one of standards, or what we know as "specs." Let’s take an airline as a moshol. One airline could use parts that don't hold up to stress as well; could check the aircraft every 3 flights, instead of after every one; could use a lower quality fuel which could conceivably create stalls; could require pilots to have only 1 year's experience; could allow the crew only 6 hours of sleep between flights; or could hire stewardesses with no training in medical emergencies.

    Different standards. This is in being choshesh for various shittos, in quality, in meticulousness; in frequency of looking for potential problems, in training, etc. Your average chicken has such differences throughout the "line," or "run." Same with Tefillin..ANYTHING. Including Mikva'os.

    But which Hashgacha should we rely on? How do we determine the difference between a "crazy Chumrah" and a reasonable “taking another shittoh into account”, or a reasonable preventative requirement?


    If a Rav doesn't have your trust--- you must go and get one that does. You, and he, cannot function without it.
    (To an olom such as ours, I would never suggest to trust and follow regardless-but you MUST find leadership that you can and do trust)


    You must trust your Rav (or get a different Rav whom you do trust) to tell you which level of Hashgacha and hechsher you should adopt. Unless you have the time, energy, patience, and expertise to decide for yourself.


    (I, as someone who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, understand and realize that nowadays, in the world of our olom, blind trust doesn’t happen. Trust has to be earned. And even after the trust is there, I myself, through the influence of my Rosh Yeshivah, HoRav Abba Berman ZT”L, insist that much of what we Rabbis do be explained and clarified. And I stand ready to do so, whenever possible. But without trust, it’s a losing battle.)

  25. Cynthia - they are more or less the same. there are perhaps minor differences, though I have been told that I dont know what they are. I think the main difference is just a matter of who supervises.

    They were split in order to accommodate two different communities.

  26. Sounds like a massive tank of chillul hashem and sinat chinam for no good reason.

  27. Rav Spektor is the "rav shechuna (ashkenazi)" of the Givat Sharet neighborhood. He is currently in charge of Mikvaot and Eruvin in the Rabbanut Bet Shemesh. Ultimately, I believe, he has to answer to the city rav, Rav Bitton, and presumably Rav Bitton could appoint someone else in the Rabbanut to supervise the mikvaot, or do it himself.

  28. Anon: "Here is from R. Malinowitz's drasha behaalosech 5769:"

    Wasn't that the notorious drosha where Rav Malinowitz told his congregants to "trust me" on child abuse (ie. come to Rav Malinowitz, and don't go to the police) - and referred to David Morris (who had called for victims of child abuse to go directly to the police) as "Korach".

    This time, Rav Malinowitz is publicly calling CR a liar, and telling other women who have complaints about the mikva to trust him & go to him.

    Doesn't he get-it?

    Ramat Bet Shemesh DOESN'T trust Rav Malinowitz on these issues.

  29. indeed it WAS the notorious drasha.
    But notice that he never said the other side was possul. In fact the email about the mikve that he referred to simply anounced the opening of the right side of the mikva under charedi rabonim without saying explicitly that it must be used exclusively. And, in the drasha I think he implies that the other side is not to be considered possul, chas vashalom.

    I think you are right, that Rabbi Malinowitz has not earned the trust of many people that he refers to on these issues.

  30. we have asked which side to use and if there is a preference of one over the other or a problem. While he recommended we use the right side, it was because he knows what is going on there. He never said or implied there was a problem with the left side, nor did he indicate using it would be a bdieved. He just preferred the right side because he is familiar with it.

    At least that was from our questions to him. Other people might have had other experiences.

  31. Question:
    Can somebody please explain and/or post a source for the R. Ovadia Yosef psak about dipping bein hashmashos on erev shabbos in a heated mikve?

    I, am not a woman, but I was under the impression that the water was not hot rather lukewarm, and therefore there should not be any problem dipping on shabbos. I suspect that R. Yosef's psak is regarding a mikve which is actually hot.

    Can the women comment on the mikve temperature?

  32. Rafi -- the response you were given seems a little strange.

    I assume R' Malinowitz knows exactly what is done on both sides; surely he was in contact with R' Spektor before deciding that the normal Rabbanut standards were not what he feels ideal. Otherwise, why would he _not_ trust R' Spektor's appointed balaniot? [cf the Eruv, where you can get an entire lecture from RSZP on why he started his "mehudar" eruv and how that differs from R' Spektor's "mehadrin" eruv [or the normal one, for that matter]]

    A cynic would say this is pure politics (ok, those cynics would apparently include some local Rabbonim...), but surely he must have _some_ halachic concern that he feels the need to provide interested women with his own supervision. If he didn't tell you, perhaps he thinks your not so mehadrin... ;)

  33. Rafi, can you please clarify what you mean by that. What does ", it was because he knows what is going on there" mean? It isn't possible to him to have a working relationship with R Spector on this matter, the way the DL Rabbonim do? Does it mean that he has specific concerns that were unanswered?
    The poskim will rely on extreme kulos to not call mikvaos and tevilla into question, such as the Rema permitting women to immerse in rivers in communities which had such a practice.
    Because of that I find it strange that an-opened minded Rav has teamed up with a Rav that has nothing but derision and disrespect for the DL Rabbonim and communities on a matter has sensitive such as this.

  34. Agree with you completly Rav Davidowitz (who is known throughout Israel for his knowledge on (1) Mikvaos and (2) STAM - not sure of the connection) is hardly a machmir on Inyonei T.HM.

    Further, I am not sure why the DL community (interesting to note that Rabbi Myers includes himself on the DL side) is showing such righteous indignation - the provison of religious services (by the moetza) throughout Israel are and always have been politicised - why otherwise did the Mafdal fight to get control of the Relgious Council for the past 15/20 years!
    To see this as some local issue is taking a very narrow view. Mafdal splits control of the Relgious councils with Shas across most of Israel - some you win, some you lose...

    Your astute friend

  35. The concern seems to be less that shas will be in charge, and more that the ashkenazi charedi rabbonim of R-BS will be running the mikvaot and will have the women subject to chumrot and unnecessary "professional" inspection.

  36. Anon 4:53
    The "righteous indignation" is not about who controls the Moezta, which is a political position, but the fact that the Mikve is being takne away from the Moetza and given to private hands that are hostile to the community and imposing unheard of standards that the DL Rabbonim feel go against the Halacha.
    Of course Shas knows who is right over here, but as the party that allegedly stands for להחזיר עטרה ליושנה has a leadership that sends their kids to Ashkenazi Charedi מוסדות they continue to be scared of their own shadow.

  37. Astute - though it was nasty at the time, I have not heard anybody really complaining about the replacing of Ben-Margi. That is politics and so be it. As you say, you win some, you lose some. Political reality.

    But once somebody is put in charge, his responsibility is to provide the services for everyone.

    And I have not heard anybody complaining that Shas took it over. The complaint is that control is being given to a specific group of rabbonim, overall a minority of rabbonim though they represent a large sector of the community (though still a minority but not a small one), that does not take everyone else's needs into consideration.

  38. Mul - my point was that even when we asked directly and when we asked ambiguously, giving ample opportunity for him to tell us not to use the left side or that there are problems on th left side, he did not tell us that.
    he told us he prefers and tells people to use the right, because he is involved in its supervision and is mor eintimitely aware of what is going on. Perhaps he is generally aware of tthe goings on of the left side as well, but he is more knowledgeable about the right side.

    my point was that he never told me or my wife, and we asked a few times over the past year for various reasons, that the left side was no good.

    Perhaps I am different because he knows anything he might say might end up here, but I doubt it. Rav M is careful with his words in general and is always very consistent.

    It doesnt change anything with regard to the current argument. I am just saying he never bad-mouthed, to me, the left side.

  39. In fact the email about the mikve that he referred to simply anounced the opening of the right side of the mikva under charedi rabonim without saying explicitly that it must be used exclusively.

    And previously the option at Lachish was only on Shabbat. So if Rav Malinowitz did not tell the congregants that they should be traveling to another borough back then....

    He just preferred the right side because he is familiar with it.

    I've never heard of a woman forgoing on the mitzvah of tevila when she is traveling, because she doesn't know enough about the mikvah supervision. But when given the ability to choose, why not follow one's preference?

    Rabbi Myers is writing on behalf of his shul not his school.

    It would be nice if the "illegal" labeling could be resolved between both sides so that Charedi training doesn't have to get everyone so defensive. After all if as Mul Einayim tells it, city funds were planned to build a Charedi-supervised mikvah on Luz.

    But just as I don't like inciteful banner headlines like "land grab," I also find it beneath grownup Jews to get a little and then bully and/or tantrum for more.

  40. In this country, throwing a tantrum can be very effective.

  41. Rafi,

    I know we are both olim 'chadashim', but to state with sincerety that "once somebody is put in charge, his responsibility is to provide the services for everyone" is showing incredible naivete of the Israeli political system. The rabbinic signatories of the letter are, on the whole, sabras who are not as naive as you [or me].

    As for your commentor who stated that the complaint is that "the Mikve is being taken away from the Moetza and given to private hands" - again, do you know nothing about politics in Israel? when the time comes for the new appointment of a Rav of BS you will see a charedi Rav appointed as the control the religious council - this new Rav will take over control of all mikvaos in BS. Will that make you happier? This argument about mikvaos is nothing to do with a public/private struggle. It is simply part of the same DL/Charedi fight you can see in the Old City/Ramot etc.

    Face the facts, the DL played the politics and lost. You win some, you lose some.


  42. Shira, the Luz Mikveh is meant to meant to be a private one; not one built with city funds.
    No one likes the illegal label. The Charedi side would love to have the Moetza + R Spector allow them to run the Mikvaos and not have it handed over to them as private individuals.
    However I don't know what you mean by "Charedi training doesn't have to get everyone so defensive"
    From day one the Charedi side, even when asked has refused to cooperate with Rav Spector regarfing the building-supevising of a single eruv or mikveh here. Do you really expect him to step aside and allow other people (who mistrust him solely based on his hashkafa) to step aside and let others do the job that he is supposed to do in a way he doesn't approve of?
    Rafi, can you elaborate of R Malinowitz's position regarding this case? If the left side is OK and the whole issue is indeed causing much עגמת נפש to the DL community, why is he (if he is) backing R Davidovitz?

  43. Astute - naive or not,, that is the way it is supposed to be. Yaakov Litzman is suppiosed to be running the health services of the country for everyone, not just for the haredim. He might find ways to go out of his way for haredim who need his personal intervention, and he might make the system overall more sympathetic to haredi needs, but in general he is administering the services provided to everyone. And personally I think he has been doing a decent job of it.

    Ariel Attias is planning construction around the country for everyone. Not just for Shas voters. True, he might be planning more projects for haredim (UI dont know if that is true, but lets assume for right now that it is), but he is also taking into consideration that they have a greater need than others. So his planning is proportional, but still he is planning projects for everyone.

    Etc etc.
    city services are the same. No matter how selfish you expect certain people to be, that does not make it right, and equal services can be demanded rightfully so.

    Furthermore, according to what you are saying, for the past 20 years, the haredi parties have been fighting for what they deserve in education and other services - budgets and more, according to what you are saying, they should have been sitting queitly saying "you win some you lose some", and wait till they got more power.

    That is not the case though and nobody would have ever expected it of them. The haredi school deserved budgets greater than what they were getting, and the partioes and people had every right to fight for what they had coming to them.
    Now to - just because they lost in the political balance, does not mean the city is freed from providing services to that community. The city has to provide services equally, and if they do not, the community has a right, an obligation, to fight to get those services.

    And that is just the need to provide servcies equally.

    Besides that you can debate whether it is smart for those who suddenly come into power to cut everyone else off. Will that now justify other cities stop listening to haredi demands simply because they are in the minority? Do haredim not need to be concerned for other peoples Judaism and shmira of taharas hamishpacha (or other issues), just because they are not haredi?
    Should other cities slash funding to haredi school, simply because the haredim dont have much power in those cities?

  44. Mul - at this point I cannot. I dont know it. Rav M is part of the amuta. Despite the fact that BTYA is more openminded and perhaps call ti moderate haredi, Rav M clearly sees our place more in the haredi camp than straddling the fence. In the membership itself there are those who are more haredi, those who straddle the fence and those who lean more DL. But from his worldview, the shul needs to be more in the haredi camp.

    I am very surprised by this offensive, and his part in it. I tried to get some info, but Rav M is in the US right now and responses are delayed. I dont think he is rtunning this offensive, I think Rav P is and I heard Rav P was putting serious pressure on Abutbol about it. But that is all rumor, so I did not include it in the post. Rav M might just be going along with what others in the amuta want on this, or maybe he is more directing. I dont know.

    Regarding the left side of the mikva, again, he told em it is kosher, and never said it is only bdieved or anythign like that, just that he prefers we use the right side if possible because he is more familiar with the day to day supervision of it. I dont see what is difficult to understand about that.

    Would vRav Rubin not tell people to prefer his hechsher over Rav Landau's? Not because Rav Landau's is bad, but because Rav Rubin knows what goes on under hsi mashgichim and is less familiar with what goes on under the mashgichim of Rav Landau or other hechsherim

  45. anon 4:18
    See טהרת הבית יד:ג
    regarding R Ovadiah's psak on the matter

  46. Rafi,

    I am not saying that the DL should sit quietly at all - it is their right to do what they want (within the law), including these letters/demonstrations etc. Again, in Israel no one ever 'goes down without a fight'.

    I am just saying that we should all be a little more cynical when a group [that has used dirty politics for its own benefit for 20 years] starts saying [as soon as they lose the political battle] that it is unfair that to play dirty politics.

    Regarding the use of public funds for narrow sectoral desires, we could look at the use of the matnasim throughout BS to see that this dirty politics plays both ways, has done and always will do so, as bias goel tzeddek. With the exception of one matnas in RBS B, all of them in BS cater for the chiloni/DL communities and provide services accordingly. Do any charedim have use of the matnas on Dolev or its services? I think that the answer to this is not YET.


  47. I never understood issues with the matnas. ther are chugim in the matnas. you want to participate, go ahead. you dont want to, dont. They have things for men, boys, girls, ladies. some might be mixed and some (I think most) are not mixed. you dont want to go to a chug there, or to send your kids there, so dont. What is haredi or not haredi about a matnas?
    I have participated in chugim at the matnas (tai chi) that were only men, and about 40% were haredi men.
    Plenty of shuls rent out the matnas ulam for their functions.

    So I dont know what is a haredi matnas and what is a DL matnas. What would you suggest the matnas do differently for the haredi community? And if you have ideas, have you suggested or requested such services form the administrator? If yes, what was the response? Did she say no because you are haredi and the matnas is DL? did she say yes, bring me 15 people interested in such a course? Did she say something else?
    If not, how do you know they wouldnt?

    Another point I wanted to make is that according to you it would be perfectly ok, since technically the haredi reps are not a majority in city hall - they are only 8 out of 17 - for the chiloni and DL reps to get together and strip the haredim of everything theyhave n the city. The haredim could try to fight it, but if the chilonim and DL were smart they would get together and strip every service and agura of funding away from the haredim. just because they are the majority and would win every vote (if they had any ability to work together). And whule the haredim could fight it, they would not really have a foot to stand on and would probably be chased out of the city. And according to you that would be perfectly ok.

    Is that really what you are saying?

  48. Rafi,

    Go to a matnas on Sorotskin or Mem Gimmel - you will see what is a charedi matnas - it has to been seen to be fully understood. The one on Dolev is certainly not charedi...yet. And the DL people running the matnas know that.

    With respect to your seat counting on the municipality, you are misunderstanding me. I am not saying that the charedim are the majority and therefore they have a right to do what they please and to ignore the views of others. Far from it... like you, I come from a place where people of all shades and stripes seem to get along fine and are able to listen to each other despite any hashgofic differences.

    I do not like Israeli politics (local or national) - as I vote, I hold my nose from the stench of the polling booth. Israel politics simply stinks.

    I am just saying that we should all be a little more questioning of what really goes on here. It is naive to think that all parties in the system do not use the system for their narrow sectoral purposes - and the DL are just as bad (if not worse) at this as the charedim (ask anyone who had any dealings with the Religions Ministry in the years '48 to 90 - or look at the allocation of funds in BS/RBS prior to the last election).

    Is this the way that things should work? IMHO no. Is there any way of changing the system? IMHO no ad bias goel.

    I am simply cynical of DL people, who (since the foundation of the state with respect to national issues and for the last 20 years with respect to BS) have been a part of and used/abused the system for their benefit, now start complaining when the charedim start flexing their political muscles and using/abusing the system. Where were you the last 20 years when the system was just as rotten? Or is your complaint simply that this rotten system is no longer working in your favor?

  49. not in my favor? my kids go to haredi schools, we daven in haredi shuls (mostly), etc, How is it not working in my favor?

    I am against "us" treating other people badly. I want "us" to be concerned and do the right thing and make sure we do not abuse "our" power.

    Just because other people don't have the right attitude means we shouldn't? Dont we profess to be better, more moral, etc. because we live by torah true values (not that others dont, just saying what the general claim is)? How can we treat other people like that, no matter how we were treated the last 20 years?

    About sectoral politics, that is exactly why i dont vote for small parties. I believe in the big party, and the big party should be concrned about providing the needs for everybody within. I hate small sectoral parties. I dont vote mafdal, gimmel or ichud leumi. I vote Likud and as much as that stinks I think it is better than the sectoral parties.

  50. I have a question for anybody who has information about how they know 2.3 use the left side and 1/3 use the right side.

    My question is that I just found out that the money for both mikvas is collected together, at the same kupa.

    How do they know, since the money is going into the same box, how many are paying for this mikva and how many are paying for that mikva?

    How did they come to the calculation of 2/3 and 1/3?

    is it possible there is more money on the left side because maybe the women there are paying for more accessories - paying for towels and soap, while on the right side maybe they bring more of that from home and dont buy it at the mikva?

    My main question is stated that how do they come to the numbers 2/3 and 1/3 especially considering the money is collected together and there does not seem to be anyone marking which mikva is being used at the time of payment.

  51. Rafi,

    I know where you send your kids to school, where you daven, how you vote [well what you tell people, at least] and that you do not 'fit into any [conventional] box'.

    My comments and questions were perhaps directed more to your commentors than to you - but either way I guess they remain valid. Were you complaining about Vaknin's anti-charedi discrimination for 15 years [notwithstanding Vaknin's own pitiful comments to the contrary at a pre-election parlour with the Beis Tefllah crowd]? My guess is not (but I am happy to be corrected) - I would certainly bet that the DL commentors on this blog certainly had no such complaints!

    Is it all wrong? Yes. Should it be changed? yes. Can we do anything about it? only an anglo oleh could think so.


  52. we can do somethign about it when it is our local rabbonim, and not national politics, that are creating the issue.

    and again, what other people did to us is different than what we do to other people.

    I dont criticize haredim tryign to obtain more budgeting for schools. It is deserved and they should get it (not talkign about any specific case, just in general) and if they can get it, great.
    Plus I dont think Vaknin was bad to haredim. Just because they vilified him at the last elections after deciding to support abutbol, fact is he wa sinstrumental in bringing haredim to bet shemesh, he gave them tons of schools and classes. Maybe he wasnt perfect, but overall I dont understand why haredim talk badly about vaknin.

  53. Rafi G - Another point I wanted to make is that according to you it would be perfectly ok, since technically the haredi reps are not a majority in city hall - they are only 8 out of 17 - for the chiloni and DL reps to get together and strip the haredim of everything theyhave n the city.

    Next year (or the year after with regularly scheduled construction projects), when the Charedim have 9 out of 17, isn't this pretty much what they are going to do ... only in reverse?


  54. Normal American in RBSApril 21, 2010 9:12 PM

    Your post contains an important error. The Lachish mikva was never divided in half. Rav Spector had complete control over the entire mikva, but when he heard that many women were pushing off their leil tvila (Fri. nite) as per instructions from local Chareidi rabbanim to only tovel with a Chareidi balanit watching, (FACT), Rav Spector voluntarily gave Rav Perlstein control over the main floor on Friday nights. (Forcing women who wanted to use his own balaniyot to go downstairs.) He evn allowed R' P to post signs in the mikva stating that women should not use the mikva any other night of the week. Rav Spector is truly one who deserves to be called "hane-elavin v'einan ulvin".
    This history lesson is instructive, especially for those who would like to pretend that the difference between the two sides on Dolev, is in the mikva structure itself. Although on Dolev there are "two sides" and therefore it's easier to create a smokescreen of different standards, clearly the Lachish situation proved beyond any doubt, that the issue was about not relying on the non-Chareidi balaniyot.
    Many people have talked about the discomfort of women who come to tovel, but I would like to also mention the insult and embarrasment experienced by the balaniyot themselves. When women choose to wait in a long line instead of going to an available empty room, ignoring the balanit who is saying, "there is an empty room available" the clear implication is that the balanit is incapable of being trusted. Keep in mind that these balaniyot are extremely frum, dressed very appropriately, with every strand of hair meticulously covered (albeit not with a sheitel). So when women see me going to the left and are surprised to see that someone who looks as frum as me isn't using the "mehadrin" side, I simply explain that I prefer not to compromise my standards when it comes to ahavas yisrael and avoiding being mevayesh another yid.

  55. truth is, it doesnt matter if the correct number is 66%, 95%, 40%, or even 25%. if there is a significant community (and I dont know what number is called significant and what number is called insignificant), their religious (and other) needs should be accommodated as much as possible.

    Question Why is it that in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Golders Green, Paris, Moscow and hundreds of other places, there can be one mikva that both the heimishe kehilla uses and the not frum and the dati community use, and the standard of tyhe mikva and the checking is satisfactoiry to all, yet here we need separate mikvas for different groups, and separate balaniot?

    Why cant we have one or two mikvas and each woman going can tell the balanit how much she wants to be cheked "Please check my hair", "please scrub my calluses till they bleed", "Please cut my nails to the bone" Please check the lint in my belly button" ?

  56. To the anon who asked for women to comment on the temperature of the mikve water on Fri night:
    Yes, it is often quite hot- definitely not lukewarm. In fact, once or twice I've even had to pause for a minute to adjust to the temperature before going in because I found the temperature to be uncomfortably high. It could be that I'm overly sensitive, but lukewarm it ain't!

  57. Raffi - The bottom line, as I see it, is that none of this would have happened if Shalom Lerner hadn't pulled out of the coalition over Gimmel. I don't blame him, but since Rav Murghy was fired from the Moetza, naturally the newly installed Haredi head can clean house. The mikveh is their litmus test. I am following your and David Morris' blog, as well as the email lists, and this topic is as heated as it has gotten in 11 years. I also wrote about it on my holyexposures blog, and have gotten some _very_ heated private responses, including threats and proposals for retaliation. This will not blow over.

  58. could be, but you cannot run your whole city-wide agenda on the one issue of "if we do this will we lose the mikva in RBS?"

    anyway, it isnt the new haredi head cleaning house. it is the mayor taking pressure from some rabbonim. The replacement Shas guy is not the one doing this.

  59. Rafi, maybe you can answer this, since you daven there. If Rav M has pubicly stated ( on more than one occasion) that BT sits firmly on the Haredi side of the fence (and has now proved this by following the "right" side in the mikveh debate), why does he tell BT members to support Feiglin and not Gimmel and why does Ari Enkin lecture there who has often spoken out furiously against the Haredi camp? Don't you get a bit confused?

  60. thats whats great about it. no matter what anyone says, BTYA is not squarely anywhere. We do our own thing and hope to show the rest of Israel that it can be done.

  61. This whole business is terrible. Everything is a chillul Hashem. Talk about tniyut (or tniyus)!! To be so dominant, so machmir, that is not the way of modesty, which is more than good appearances, it's a way of life, a way of behaviour, not machmir, and insulting to others.
    Also, do the machmirim not realise or maybe they don't care, that as a result of all this, if one just one woman will stop going to the mikveh, they will have committed an unpardonable sin.

  62. The Dati Leumi / Kippa Seruga community is a blot on the haredi landscape and is being smoked out of RBSA with a Sinas Chinam that our enemies would be proud of.
    This issue is the latest, but might be the last straw for many.

    When that happens, the 'haredi-lite', hat-wearing, university-educated (tho not our children chas vesholom), hard-working, english-speaking, internet-using, baseball-following, Yom-Haatzmaus bbq'ing (tho not-religiously observing chas vesholom) will have a target firmly on its back.

    "...Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up...."

    Better decide what we wish for.

  63. Who Will Stand Up for Me?April 22, 2010 11:12 AM

    Anon of 9:35 said

    "When that happens, the 'haredi-lite', hat-wearing, university-educated (tho not our children chas vesholom), hard-working, english-speaking, internet-using, baseball-following, Yom-Haatzmaus bbq'ing (tho not-religiously observing chas vesholom) will have a target firmly on its back."

    I refer you to another post:

    Two years ago you reported here on your blog about a Melave Malka for a new Kupa in the Kirya/RBSB. This is the Kupa of the kitzonim. Who was the guest speaker?

    Rabbi Shmuel Eidensohn of KUpa of RBSA and I quote:

    "Rav Eidensohn, who heads the kupa of RBSA, spoke last Motzei Shabbos at the inaugural dinner of the hooligan kupa. (not last night's kupa shel Tzdaka dinner - this happened the week before) This gives them great legitimacy because he heads the Kupa of RBS A which does great work and already is a large organization with a great reputation.

    When asked why he was going to be speaking there (someone present at the conversation told me) considering it gives legitimacy to the hooligans and they will use it to control their neighborhood even though they are a minority within it, he responded that he has to give them legitimacy because otherwise RBS will become too modern."

    This statement is from someone supposedly dedicated to chesed and tzedaka in our community who receives hundreds of thousands of tzedaka dollars from all types of people.

    Yes, the target will next be on the "moderate" Charedim.

    The mikve is simply a symptom of a bigger and more serious issue.

  64. Everyone stick to the topic: the mikva. Forget city and state politics.
    There are no differences between the mikva pools. Strangely enough, Rav Malinowitz, when asked directly about this, says that there are differences between them - presumably in the pool/pipe/structure - but says he won't say what those differences are because people who have not studied mikvas won't understand (even though if you aska Shabbat or kashrut question, you will be told what the issue is.)
    The difference is the women checking. What are the differences? Let's see: they are all religious women. The ones on the left are not Chareidi. Sometimes - GASP - they are Sefardi!!!! The "super-checking" - unheard of in Flatbush, Williamsburg, B'nei Brak, etc. - is just another OCD way to control women, like suddenly deciding they need to sit on the back of the bus, or hnging up signs that state women should not wear tight clothes (a huge sign hanging over a frum neighborhood talks about women wearing tight clothes, that is really modest). The rabbis who encourage a community of women to not be feel comfortable going to a mikva have some cheshbone hanefesh to do. Either they must PUBLICLY spell out EXACTLY what is wrong with the mikvas on the left and PUBLICLY announce that OCD checking (which our mothers and grandmothers never heard of) is mandatory, or they should stop casuing sinat chinam. How come in Flatbush and Queens and Passaic and Toronto any woman can feel the mikva is for everyone, but here in Eretz HaKodesh we have to feel there is no community mikva? There is something VERY wrong with this and American olim should have the brains to realize that they should not want to lower their standards of ahavas yisroel while living in the holy land, despite the sick power grabs/politics around them. Rafi, if this story about the mikva doesn't upset you and you keep singing this, "Oh, big deal, why do they HAVE to share the mikva?" and "Of course, everyone wants 'their' community to run the show" you have become warped by exposure to this sickness.
    Signed, a SAD OLAH.
    PS For those of you who call Rav Spektor "DL" - he has a big white beard and a big black frock coat, I assure you any chiloni on the street would view him as Charedi - and he is not one bit less frum - in any way - than the "charedi" rabbis.

  65. Rav Spektor is most definitely very frum. He is also most definitely DL, both in his outlook and in his yeshiva background. Despite what the man in the street might think he is just by looking at him.
    He is not the only DL rav who wears "Rabbinic" garb.

  66. Let the Women SpeakApril 22, 2010 1:23 PM

    Perhaps this issue doesn't bother Rafi so much because it has been a long time since he's gone to the ladie's mikve for tvilla

    (Although I suspect that it has more to do with his close connection to one of the baalei plugta here)

  67. The Balaniot at the Dolev mikva,both on the chareidi and the DL side told me that it is exactly the same mikva.

  68. I am not sure why you think it does not bother me...

    As well, I was recently told (this morning) that while the actual pits for the water and the mikvas are the same, on the right side it is inspected more frequently, along with a number of failsafes being in place so if somethign should go wrong it would not become passul right away while on the left side these failsafes are not in place.

    I dont know more details of what the failsafes are or if this is even true, but that is what I was told.

    As well, I clarified the issue of how they know the 2/3 and 1/3 and which mikva is used more. It is not based on the money. It is based on what sounds like an unscientific study of once in a while asking the balaniot to keep track, and it turned out those numbers, which might not be accurate.

    But regardless of that, it doesnt matter if ti is 66%, 50%, 45%, 35% or even 90%. The community should have its religious needs provided.

  69. (Rafi not G)

    "Sad Olah" - On the subject of R Spektor's coat (this is ridiculous), when he came to Beit Shemesh and became Rav Shekhuna, he adopted Ashkenazi Rabbinic garb, I believe at the request of the Sefardi Rav 'Ir R. Bitton. This shows just how ridiculous comments about his coat are. Look at any of the Rashei Yeshivot and Rabbanei 'Arim and you will see that most of them wear this garb.

    It is pretty sad that you would make a comment proving or otherwise how frum R. Spektor is or what his view is vis-a-vis the Zionist enterprise or state institutions, based on the style and color of his coat. BTW, if you had looked closely you would have noticed that it is in fact dark blue and not black.

    Secondly, I made a comment further up that noone has related to - how about legal action (via Bagatz for instance) to annul the probably illegal misappropriation of the mikva an return it back to the whole community.

  70. sorry, Rafi. I thought I related to it. I have heard they are weighing the options. The risk of that is that Abutbol (through his rosh Moetza HaDatit proxy) can turn around and fire Rav Spektor and hire one of the Ashkenazy Haredi rabbonim in his place to be in charge of the mikvas of Bet Shemesh.
    I have heard they are weighing their options and figuring out what to do.

  71. We Can Be NormalApril 22, 2010 7:56 PM

    HaRav Chayim, HaRav Chayim Solo, HaRav Chayim Soloveichik!

    Don't be silent-support those who would prevent our community's destruction. Support the Voice of Normalcy.

  72. It is being claimed here that the reason for the longer lines on the right side is due to very long checking but the mikva ladies. This in fact is only adding perhaps a few minutes per lady.
    What might actually be happening is that the chareidi women themselves are taking longer to prepare themselves. This might add on 15 minutes, or even half a hour to each lady. Anyone suggest verification?

  73. it is not "being claimed". it is being suggested that that might be the reason. your reason might also be a good explanation.

    but if the balaniot are taking 15-20 minutes to check each woman on average, and on the other side just a couple of minutes, that is a significant different.

  74. Someone wrote:
    Rav Spektor has trained the balaniot to handle some set of basic shailas, so that when I had questions many were answered either directly or by looking in a sefer

    And this is where a danger lies. Some basic training helps for answering basic procedure. All women are trained that way. The problem is when they start to pasken. The ladies coming to use the mikva won't or can't argue, or don't know, and the mikva ladies may frequently overstep themselves.

  75. What a bunch of wackos in this town.
    First of all, someone missed the point about Rav Spektor's clothes - obviously, the person wasn't saying, Hey, Rav Spektor is Chareidi - he isn't - but that he is very frum and an outsider wouldn't see him as modern, so don't imagine he wears sandals and a srugi and maybe watches TV and that is the reason people doubt him. The people against him know he is very learned and frum, this is about POLITICS and POWER.
    Second of all, who said the mikva ladies are being rabbis? I have NEVER heard one story about this. Of course they can answer basic questions - hopefully you can too if someone asks you if your cold milchig fork fell in your cold fleishig sink, doe sit need to be kashered? All the mikva ladies have a rabbi to call.
    Third, this "super-checking" is NOT a standard of the charedim, it is a new crazy thing like the frum women you see on Dolev wearing chador/shawls over their clothes. It is WRONG, and these people are acting holier-than-thou as if they are much frummer and better than the women who do what their mothers did, and what women do, all over the world except in a few nutso places in this country.
    Fourth, that there was an "agreement" between the DL and the Chareidi to split control is a lie. Rav Spektor was *forced* to cede supervision. That this is about power, not a mitzva, should be obvious in the fact that now they want to take the nice new mikva on Dolev and give it to the charedim and give the old Lachish mikva to Rav Spektor, even though if you look at a map, there are more charedi women down by Sorek and Nachshon who are near Lachish, while more people near Dolev and Sun Gardens are not charedi.
    Five, saying this is a DL/Charedi split is a lie. Many charedi people who daven in charedi shuls do not want this superchecking and do not want this craziness - they just want a normal community mikva, and they trust frum mikva ladies whether they are charedi or not.
    Remember Rabbi Akiva's students died during sefira? Ever wonder why moshiach can't come yet?
    Signed, a Cynical Oleh

  76. Jpost reports on this issue:



    Friday, 23 April 2010
    The RBS Mikva and a Survivor of Abuse

    [I was sent this article by the author who, for obvious reasons, asked that I do not publish her identy]

    I have a very hard time with the mitzvah of mikvah to begin with. I am one of the many survivors of child sexual abuse in the frum community. I was molested by frum rabbonim, close relatives.

    When I learned about the mitzvah of mikvah I felt re-traumatized and was not sure I could do it. I broke down crying more than once during my kallah classes...Once again I had to give up control of my body to the rabbonim in my life. I was being told when and how I was allowed to use my body. Each time I do a bedikah I feel like my abuser and other rabbonim are watching and laughing at me. At first I felt like I was being molested all over again each time I went to the mikvah. And yet I went even though it was traumatic because intelectually I realized that not all frum men are abusers, and certainly not my husband. And I made a commitment to my husband before we married that I would go.

    I was at the mikvah on Nachal Dolev in Ramat Bet Shemesh last week and went into a room that was open on the "Charaidi" side not realizing that the rules would be different. The attendant came to the room when I was ready with a tray of equipment. From a previous traumatic experience in the mikva in Ramah Bet, (I never went back there) I knew that she wanted to do a series of invasive and humiliating "checks," cutting off hairs and nails, that I did not want or need. I thanked her politely but declined explaining that I had done all that myself and that I wanted her to please check my back for hairs and to make sure that my hair went under the water. I would also allow her to check my hands and feet. She refused to let me enter the mikvah. I told her that I had learned the halachot and that this was just fine. Her job was to help me. She refused saying that her rav didn't let. She yelled for the other attendant to come while I waited feeling exposed, vulnerable, and humiliated. I almost left without using the mikvah. The other balanit finally came and took me to the other side, the "modern" side.

    It wouldn't have mattered anyway. I left crying and feeling violated and confused. I wanted nothing to do with my frustrated husband. I still have not been able to be with my husband since this experience. He is understandably very upset about this as well. We were under the impression that this was a community mikvah. No rav or individual has the right to force their chumras on another person. As one out of every four women is a survivor of child sexual abuse, I hope that the rabbonim and mikvah attendants will educate themselves as to the sensitivity necessary when dealing with women and their bodies.

  78. your story sort of starts from the middle. there were years of fighting before the mikva was even built as to whether it would go to the moatza or the amuta. the amuta had planned on adding on the building built by the misrad hadatot (not the moatza) in essence doubling it to ten rooms and 4 mikvaos.
    being that at the time lachish was for all intents and purposes run by rav spector (by the way the original Agreement was that there would be an equal shutfus and later rav spector backed out of the shutfus and refused to give veto power over the choice of balanyiot although up till that point both rav spector and rav perlstein had been able to veto balniyot choies which was a fair arrangement that had everyone satisfied. when he pulled out, the friday night arrangement ws worked out and by the way rav spector sent somebody e very week to take down the sign which was not worded as quoted by the previous poster but deffinately a more respectful language. )
    so anyways beingg that lachish ws controlled completely by rav spector and the chareidim had no functioning mikva, and especially since the chareidim were willing to double the size of the new mikva at their own expence, the most logical thing to do would have been to give the mikva to the chareidim and let rav spector continue business as usual on lachish- if it was good until then for the dl then it should still be good for them.
    however since vaknin was the mayor and following a long fight, as the mikva started to be built there was a compromise made. dolev would be split, and a plot of land on luz was allocated for the amuta to build a complete new mikva (which due to the unforseen world economic implosion has been put on hold) when luz would be finished the moatza would take over conntrol of the entire dolev mikva (there might have also been a caluse giving lachish to the rabbonim but i don't remember 100%)
    when abutbol came to "power" and many issues of the city were revisited, as is normal in politics- assistant mayoras change tikim in the city are shifted around, etc., the arrangemnet of the mikva was revisited. just as vaknin used his power to take away the mikva from the chareidim, so to abutbol would try to take the mikva back to the chareidim. if being mayor gave vaknin the right to stick dati leumi schools in the middle of chareidi neighborhoods and refuse to give chareidim school buildings of their own, then it is probably fair that abutbol can take back the mikva for the chareidim.
    the resulting agreemnt was actually a peshara and a vitur on abutbol;s part lmann hashalom and the agreement was made that dolev would go the chareidim completely upon the culmination of the lacish renovation.
    and then came the shakeup with mafdal losing the moatza. and shas getting the control of the moatza and then again everything should be revisited (in my opinion - being that the whole issue was political from day one which goes back almost seven years if i remember correctly)

    as far as the mikvah itself goes anybody that professes to say that there is no difference between the two sides in the mikva itself, has no idea what he is talking about and either made his own assumptions or heard from rav spector alone, as you yourself know rafi that the rabbonim don't talk about what is the difference in the two boyros- not even to their close followers like yourself therefore the information provided to him has been one-sided.

  79. why is the information about the two boros such a secret?

  80. the general rule of mikvaos is that details of the kashruss are not discussed publicly.
    when these things are discussed publicly, then anybody who learnt a little bit of hilchs mikvaos from parsha pages can start to give their opinion on the kashrus of the mikvah and being that we are dealing with inyanei kares it is dangerous to allow unknowledgable people to start giving their opinions and feeding rumor mills.

    also if the rbbanim didn't like the way that rav spector was maykil on things they wouldn't come out publicly to disrespect him with specific issues. (interesting enough it is everyone on the blogs bashing the rabbanim for being machmir and not holding of or respecting rav specor while none of them has ever said anything publicly to discredit him. while everyone knows that chareidim don't eat rabbanut meat why is it a problem for them to suddenly not be relying on rabbanut mikvaos?)

  81. Finally, someone trying to present another side of the story (although anonymously). There are a few things missing:
    1. The justification for enforcing 15 minute inspection.
    2. What is the physical difference btw mikvaos? (It's a secret is not an answer, and people will lose trust.)
    3. If the chareidim are taking over, are they paying anything for it?

  82. Rafi,

    when you go to the mikva before entering har habayit (which also is a question of karet) which side do you go to?
    Do you have a "Balan" give you a 20 minute checking, give you a manicure and scrub your elbows?

  83. the scrubbing has nothing to do with karet. Chatziza on a minority of the body or the minority of the hair is only miderabbanan as long as the whole body is immersed. Of course, the chafifa (which is a gezera of Ezra) should still be taken very seriously.
    A chatziza is only a problem even miderabbanan if the woman or most women are particular about removing the chatziza on a regular basis (aside from the purpose of mikve). The Rema does mention a minhag to remove even chatzizot that aren't a problem miderabbanan, but I don't think he is talking about dry skin which is attached to the body.
    Nails, I believe, only need to be cut down to the level of the finger(or toe)-tips. And that is only because of an accepted chumra.(ask your rav for specifics).
    Nails should be cleaned as well as people normally clean them. (The Shulchan Aruch records that as being only dirt above the finger tips. Today it is probably all visible dirt.)
    A split nail could be a problem.

    A sane woman is trusted on her own chafifa. A mikve lady can help if a woman asks, but is only needed to see the woman's hair go under the water.

  84. Anonymous: "Your story sort of starts in the middle" etc..

    Everything in Anonymous 08:01 comment is irrelevant.

    The premise that the charedim deserve a part of a public mikve is mistaken to begin with, and if Rav Spector was nice enough or naive enough to allow this to go on in previous years, it doesn't make it right.

    The same way charedim pay for private kashrus when they don't want to rely on regular rabbanut so they form their own badatz, they can build their private mikve. They were given the chance to do so on Luz- and were even offered partial iriya funding, although there is no real need for a 3rd mikve in RBS- but they chose not to go that way, and take over gov't property instead.

    Rav Spector is in charge of the mikvaot, and not anyone else.

    If Rav Perlstein chose to have his people spend 30 shekels on taxis each month- that's his problem, nobody stopped them from using the rabbanut mikve.

    By the way, I have been speaking to many charedi women, who all told me they were shocked by the balaniyot here on Dolev, and that this does not go on in any of the charedi mikvaot here or anywhere else.

  85. Anon: "A sane woman is trusted on her own chafifa. A mikve lady can help if a woman asks, but is only needed to see the woman's hair go under the water."

    Apparently the balaniyot reckon the ladies who are on the "Right" side of the mikva are not sane.

    From the many testimonies of local women, those Balaniyot clearly do NOT see their job as just checking if women's hair goes under the water - but aparently consider themselves to be plastic surgeons, and they attack women with a variety of invasive implements.

    Who has been telling them to do this??

  86. Is this more than one mikve lady on the right side?
    Do they have names?
    Has anyone complained directly to the rabbonim who are supposedly in charge?
    Perhaps she is crazy and does it on her own claiming that the rabbis told her to.

    If a rav actually told her to do that, he should be defrocked (or worse).

  87. The premise that the charedim deserve a part of a public mikve is mistaken to begin with,
    no it is not. the misradnhadatot builds the mikvaos not the moatzot hadatit. in every chareidi community they have a misrad hadatot mikva and they are able to satisfy the needs of the chareidi community. har nof, kiryat sefer, beitar,etc. none of these places are privately built mikvaos as far as i kknow. there is no reason that the mikva cannnot be run up to the standards of the chareidim.
    the government money comes from our taxes also (yes i pay taxes as do most chareidim living in ramar beit shemesh)
    why is everyone talking about an illegal land grab, the dati leumi didn't complain when vaknin grabbed all the nice school buildings for the dati leumi community. (and going back even further- the dati leumi didn't complain when the government was stealing peoples payos) why are ladnd grabs illegal when it doesn't benefit them?
    it is interesting that everyone is screaming about the chumras although my family has never complained about being abused there, including relatives that have been just visiting from modern communities.
    maybe if the rabbanim would cry on the internet and make a big deal about every one of rav spector's kulas and mishaps then the score would be even. but that is not hte darchei noam way to do it. i still just can't understand why he can't jut keep one mikva and give one mikva to the chareidim - not one half but one mikva.

  88. "dati leumi didn't complain when the government was stealing peoples payos"

    and you want anyone to take you seriously?

  89. y said...
    "dati leumi didn't complain when the government was stealing peoples payos"

    and you want anyone to take you seriously?
    \i appologize you are right that came out of nowhere/ i just finished reading a book about that whole affair so it was stuck in my head. i concede that it was inappropriate to be brought into this discusion

  90. please Mr. Anonymous of 4:06
    name some of the "kulas" and "mishaps" that you refer to.

  91. I don't have a problem with the bor mikva being controlled by charedi rabbonim, nor do I have a problem with the supervision and inspection of the mikva being controlled by charedi rabbonim. What do I care how many chumros they insist on in the bor? It doesn't make my tevilla more difficult or unpleasant, so go ahead - the more the merrier.

    My only issue is the mikvah ladies. I don't care of they are charedi or dati leumi, as long as they are frum women who are trained properly and are pleasant.

    My only issue with them is why they are insisting on checking according to certain methods. I protest the way some people have described the inspections as if the mikvah ladies are gilgulim of Dr. Mengele, sadistic and looking how they can demean and torture more women. I protest that and it is 100% not true. The mikvah ladies are wonderful people, nice, friendly, ehrliche, yiros shamayim. The problem is they have a checklist of what they have to do, no matter what you want.

    When I go to the mikvah, I prepared myself and I don't need someone else to go over every inch of my body. There is no need for it, and it is not her business, nor is it the Rav's business. I am happy for her to offer me her assistance, and remind me of areas I might have forgotten to be careful about, and offer to help. The mikvah ladies insistence on performing set inspections is 100% wrong and has nothing to do with being charedi. Just because I am charedi, does not mean the mikvah lady has a right to force her level of bedika on me.

    That is my only problem, and I think that is really the problem of most of the women. The rest of it just got added out of frustration, but I think most women don't care about the other stuff, just how the mikvah ladies force their inspections.

  92. In 93 comments nobody has listed a single chumra or kula with the mikve.
    If the mikvaos are the same, there should nothing preventing all of the rabbonim from inspecting both sides.
    To me it sounds like they want people to think that the mikvaos are different, and make the right side exclusive. In other words, if you want to use the really kosher mikve you have to pass inspection. Otherwise, charedi women will forgo the inspection and just use the charedi mikve.

  93. Room for all in RBSApril 27, 2010 8:13 AM

    It is SO obvious that this is a power play on the part of certain rabbonim.

    If the "split" mikve has worked why not continue as Rafi says?

    The answer is that there are factions who just must have control whether it be mikvaos, buses,tzedakos or schools.

    By dictating the hows, whys and wheres of their followers they have unbelievable power over them.

    Aseh lcha Rav should not create "aseh lcha pesel"

  94. anon 4:06
    I don't know why you in any way expected the "when vaknin grabbed all the nice school buildings for the dati leumi community" every school is/was desperate for space and any school of any persuasion was quite happy to get whatever they got.
    However the two cases can't be compared:
    1. One is a change in the status quo and one isn't
    2. The need for classrooms (in all sectors) is real. Any Mayor of the town, will have a hard time building and finding classroom space for the myriad of schools/mosdos in this town, and there are those that will feel shortchanged. There is no comparable need to change the status quo in the Mikve. Many Charedi women prefer the Mikve in RBSB (from where I understand, the "checklist" isn't as invasive BTW) and many from the communities of the R Davidovitch Amutah h tovel on the "left" side. The "need" is top down, it involves Rabbonim trying to impose their shitas on their communities as well as the Nahal Dolev area as a whole.

  95. There have been times when "psakim" coming from the DL balaniot have been wrong, or better put, not to the standards that the local Poskim abide by. This is ther eason that I was told as to why we need to have frum balaniot instructed how to act by the poskim.

    Also, there were issues as to how the water got into the mikvah, where one side was more mehudar than other. (Acc to one local poseik, it was a problem b'dieved as well)

  96. Anon 8:48
    I resent your implication that the DL balaniot aren't frum, and that R Spector isn't a posek. I think you have to ask mechilla from the balaniot; at the very least.
    Moreover, even though I can't discuss the details of the case because you aren't informing us of them, if R Davidovitch and Co. would show an ounce of respect for R Spector and be willing to work with him instead of against him, I am confident that these "issues" can be resolved.

  97. Normal American in RBSApril 27, 2010 9:13 AM

    "This is the reason that I was told as to why we need to have frum balaniot..."
    This offensive remark is reflective of the attitude that I was referring to in an earlier post regarding the sinas chinam attitude people here have towards the balaniot. Have you ever met them? Obviously not. These women are extremely makpid on tznius, hair covering and halacha in general. Don't be so proud of your "mehadrin frumkeit". As the previous Satmer Rebbe said, "It's always very easy to be frummer, but it's very hard to be frum."

  98. Raf, you'd be right that it should be fine to leave things the way they are now - split in half, under split control - IF this were really an issue of the halachos, chumros and the bailaniot. Then each person would go to the side their rav tells them to and Shalom al Yisrael (as if!).

    But calling this an issue over halacha is like calling the Arab Israeli conflict an issue about land and sovereignty. The real issue here is about CONTROL. The Black and Whites vs the Blue and Whites. One side trying to grab control over more aspects of the city, the other trying to prevent that from happening.

    Mul Ainayim, they can't sit down and work out the issues, because the issues are just the costume. The real issue is about one side being right and one side being wrong. Working out the issues does not lead to victory. Victory is when only one side remains standing.

    No matter who wins these battles, we're all losing the war. There's a golden dome still standing on Har HaBayit

  99. If you are a woman from Bet Shemesh, please sign this petiton. (If you're not but know someonewho is please send this to them)


  100. if R Davidovitch and Co. would show an ounce of respect for R Spector and be willing to work with him instead of against him, I am confident that these "issues" can be resolved.

    perhaps they did and rav spector was the obstinate one. would rav spector admit to that? the other rabbonim would not publicly besmirch him for that and everyone is left with rav spector claiming the rabbonim are the obstinate ones while the other rabbonim, remain quiet so as not to cause rav spector's followers to lose their faith im him realizin the negative ramifications for acheinu kol bais yisrael.
    geee such a theoretical scenario could play out to result in the exact way that the coments have addressed the issue. -with not many people claiming to have gotten straight answers from the rabbonim involved but all convinced off their evil and miscrued intentions.
    when in fact the result of every disparaging comment towards the rabbonim is in actuality just showing the added greatness of the rabbonim who depite such public critisicm refuse to say what is really on their mind so as not to harm rav spector's honor.
    some food for thought- we've all read the dan lekaf zechus stories where the rasha turned out in reallity to be the biggest tzaddik

  101. has anyone actually sat down to discuss in a respectfull way wwith the rabbonim the issues at hand - the level and sort of checking taht is done. instead of bringing stories of women who were traumatized by mikva ladies, perhaps the exact issue they were makpid on should be discussed, with the different halachic views laid out and ask the rabbonim why ther take the more strict approach when such and such mikvaos and poskim are noheg lekulah?
    absent of such a discussion, the main issue that people are concerned about is basically ignored for te sake of sensationalism
    if a women came to the mikva with a chatzitza that all poskim (even rabbanut poskim)held was a problem, i would assume that eveeryone that commented on this blog would agree that the balaniyot shouldn't let her be toivell regardless of how traumatic and degrading the woman would take it.
    the question therefore remains as to which issues are being dispuited and which poskim mattir.
    i can safely assume despite people's assumption of the opposite, that if an informed person would come with the halachic issues at hand to any of the reabbonim and dicuss it respectfully as a person cominn to ask and bnot demand or reprimand, that the rabbonim would be more than willing to discuss it.
    being an am haaretz myself, i have attempted to arrange meetings in the pst with people complaining about the mikva, but the offer was refused and the person ended up quieting down.

  102. One of the "right" (Hareidi) rabbonim said recently to one of the "left" (Moetza) rabbonim - "I don't know why the dati leumi are so upset about the mikva, as they don't keep taharat hamishpacha anyway."

    I know the names of the two very chashuv rabbonim, but obviously won't identify them here; my purpose of bringing the story to public notice is as an example of the amount of zilzul (disdain) and ignorance some Hareidim have for the DL rabbonim and population.

  103. Perhaps a rep of the Charedi rabbonim could please answer...

    is the 2 sides for 2 peoples solution acceptable or do you want the whole thing?

  104. sick of the rumorsApril 27, 2010 4:27 PM

    Why won't you identify them?
    Don't you think it is a toeles for the tzibbur to know which rabbonim aren't worth the dandruff on their frock?
    Furthermore, there is no reason not to identify the DL rabbi who received the comment.

    Personally, I find it hard to believe that what you say actually happened, but sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

  105. a Hebrew forum discussing the controversy


    according to a poster there it was R. Davidovitz saying the DL-taharas hamishpacha comment to R. Spektor. But, the report is based on hearsay. I find it hard to believe. In fact I know a kippa seruga wearer who asks R. Davidovitz Taharas Hamishpacha sh'eilos.

  106. Will There Be Anyone to Stand Up For ME?April 27, 2010 6:13 PM

    I would to send this out for public opinion:

    This past week David Morris was ridiculed and called deplorable names by the Rav in front of other people before mincha.

    The only reason that David was in the shul was to attend his halacha shiur (of which he has been a member for 10 years).

    Now that this travesty and chilul HaShem has been done should David go back this week to attend his "kvias itiim" or stop going all together.

    Or perhaps the shiur which is a public Kidush HaShem has no place in a shul that allows an upstanding person such as David Morris to be ridiculed without protest.

  107. What does that have to do with the topic at hand. If david morris will decide what to do based on an internet blog, then he deserves what comes to him. Let him discuss this with his ruv and decide together what to do without making a public issue about it.
    After you finished standing up for david morris you can start to stand up for the talmidey chachamim that have been insulted and berated by so many of the bloggers here. Whether you agree or disagree with any of the rabbonim they are all tremendous talmidey chachomim and their honor should be at least as important as david's no matter how highly you hold of him.
    While david has accomplished a lot for the community, I hardly think that any knowledgable person would say that the rabbanim did less than him for the community

  108. Excuse me. David has not belittled talmidei chochomim. There was no excuse for what was done to him even if the perp is a talmid chochom.

    The only ones belittled here are those who started up with a system that was working fine in order to wield their opinion and control.

    Rabbonim who refuse to sit with rabbonim of other "stripes", try to impose their tznius standards on the Dolev mall (which B''H didn't work), will not recognize (and even belittle) organizations that have done amazing things for our community...they actually insult and berate themselves and the Holy Torah which they represent.

    Darcheah Darchei Noam...Talmidei Chochomim are supposed to bring shalom.

    If they are doing nothing but further machlokes then perhaps...

  109. anonymous of 4:18 - IYH tomorrow there will be a post about that. I was going to meet with Rav Malinowitz tomorrow to ask the questions, but someone preceded me and already did yesterday. The final draft is being finalized and will be posted tomorrow.

  110. I never said that david belittled talmidei chachamim or rabbanim. I said that the bloggers have (I meant the commentators- perhaps I should have been more clear)
    What I meant was that perhaps you should give the same respect and backing to the rabbonim as you do to david.
    Rav malinowitz somehow feels that there was an excuse for what was done. Perha he is not as smart as you or perhaps he sees things from a different perspective. (the responsibility of a spiritual leader differs than that of the head of a chesed organization- therefore things can perhaps be seen from a different angle including ramifications of the spiritual growth of the community)
    Rav shach who was recognized as the leading rosh yeshiva of the entire oilam hatorah, more than once had to come out publicly against other people in order to make sure that oilam hatorah stayed true to its purpose. Was it fun for him to do? No. Did he do it? Yes.
    If you would opt to say that rav shach was also wrong (or any other term used on this thread) then perhaps rav malinowitz is in good company. (Not I am not equating rav malinowitz with rav Shach- I am just using it as an exmple of how a leader has to do tough things that are not understood by the masses)

  111. Anonymous:I know the names of the two very chashuv rabbonim, but obviously won't identify them here; my purpose of bringing the story..

    Of course you won't identify them. Then you might have to verify if there is the slightest whiff of truth to the story.
    This way, you can besmirch everyone and no one can say you're wrong!

  112. Hamasig, I think you missed the comment from Sick of Rumors, which identifies the names with the story.

  113. Too any commentators seem to think that if only the chareidi rabbonim would tell everyone what the problems are with the left side, and with the left baloniyot, we could solve everything, and they simply have no respect for Rav Spector, and don't care to embarrass the rightious baloniyot.

    Well perhaps you should consider that unlike bloggers and commentators who freely pour scorn publicly on any nebach who gets in their way, maybe, in fact far more likely, that the chareidi rabbonim, for all their complaints, are not prepared to go as far as publicly criticizing Rav Spector. Maybe, just maybe, they have more derech eretz than the rest of us. And maybe they won't publicly announce exactly why they don't like the left baloniyot, because they actually do care how they feel.

    Consider that.

  114. To the last commenter:
    So far, we've not heard from any women complaining about the left-side baliyonot, but many complaints about those on the right side. Note that - now why would people with evil stories about the left side not tell them? OR is your take that the women on the left hate the right, but not vice-versa?

  115. Tzedek-tzedek just posted a post from someone who met with Rav Malinowitz to ask about his view on the mikva story. His answers basically say that he hopes that all rabbis can supervise the mikva so everyone in the community will feel comfortable and that the ladies on the right side have been instructed to let women do whatever they have been told by their rav (even if he is a DL).

    This post, however, is unclear on many key points, it seems nobody asked important questions to the rabbi:
    1. Are there differences in halacha between the structure of the pool/well etc. of the current mikva pools on the DL and Haredi sides of the Dolev mikva, and if so, what are the differences and is it important to go to the Haredi side in his opinion?
    2. Does R. Malinowitz believe mikva ladies should be doing these "super-checks" which are not done in the US, Bnei Brak, most of Jerusalem etc., or does he think the mikva lady should check for hairs on a lady's back, and check her nails, and make sure she is completely covered under the water? (Unless of course some lady specifically requests a more complete body check). In other words, what standard is right for the mikva - a two minute check, a 20 minute, a 2 hour?
    3. What system is in place for complaints against mikva ladies who DO NOT follow the guidelines - in all of life there needs to be accountability, so if a mikva lady acts in this nutty way, is there someone (and I think there should be a phone number of a WOMAN) to call? And is this sign with a number displayed in the mikva for all to see? I don't see women being comfortable sitting down with a rabbi and discussing how they felt when they were sitting around without clothes on and a lady came at them with a tweezer...

  116. allow me to make a point that I think is being missed...especially in light of the last comment.

    The women on the right do not hate the women on the left, nor do the women on the left hate the women on the right.

    This is not a fight between people in the neighborhood. For the overwhelming most part, we all live side by side in harmony. Almost everybody has numerous friends from all parts of the community. This is not a fight between neighbors. This is a technical "fight". People are fighting over a policy that is possibly being set.

    Don't let this affect your daily relationships with neighbors and friends from "the other" part of RBS. For the overwhelming most part, there is tremendous harmony between people, and this should not change that.

  117. Rafi,I disagree with what you just said. I have no doubt that R Maliniowitz does not hate the DL community. I do think that Tombak (who called Jacky Edry several times yesterday threatening להבעיר את השטח ) does. I pretty sure R Pearlstein and R Kofshitz do as well.

    As a whole the Charedi rabbonim won't cooperate with the DL rabbonim regarding a tzedaka organization, an eruv or a mikve.
    Are you so sure there is no hate there?

  118. all you did is strengthen my point. those are askanim and rabonim fighting over policy and control. Those arent the regular folk down here. Let the rabbonim hate each other (if they do, I dont know), but us regular people can, and will, still be friends with everyone...

  119. As a whole the Charedi rabbonim won't cooperate with the DL rabbonim regarding a tzedaka organization, an eruv or a mikve.

    I didn't realize the DL community are working on their own eiruv. As far as I know, they are more than happy to rely on the most lenient eiruv available.

  120. Hamasig said:
    "As far as I know, they are more than happy to rely on the most lenient eiruv available."

    Now I wonder if there is any besmirching in this comment?

  121. "I didn't realize the DL community are working on their own eiruv. As far as I know, they are more than happy to rely on the most lenient eiruv available."

    I guess the so-called Hamasig doesn't know about R' Spektor's mehadrin eruv. Of course, it seems he doesn't know a lot...

    [interesting name; I wonder if he chose it to be based on Hamas the terrorist group or Hamas as in theft? both might apply...]

  122. the city eruv is mehadrin. I dont remember all the details now, as it has been a while since I learned the halachos of eruvin, but it is mehadrin.

    When I first moved in, and the "mehudar eruv" encompassed a grand total of about 2 square blocks, not including my street, I met with a great Talmid chochom in the city to ask him about the eruv. He told me he had met with Rav Spektor about it, he had reviewed the eruv and how it was constructed, and the eruv was perfectly fine for anybody who relies on eruvin in general (some might be more machmir and not hold of any eruv - but for someone who will use an eruv, this is as good as any eruv).

    A number of years later when learnign hilchos eruvin and the gemara, Rav Spektor arranged a tour of the eruv. I joined the group and took the tour. At the time I knew the halachos better than I remember the details today, but then I saw the eruv in action and it is mehudar.

    I rely on the city eruv just as much as I rely on the "mehudar eruv" and other eruvim.

  123. Hamsig,

    Just a few points.

    You stated:
    Well perhaps you should consider that unlike bloggers and commentators who freely pour scorn publicly on any nebach who gets in their way, maybe, in fact far more likely, that the chareidi rabbonim, for all their complaints, are not prepared to go as far as publicly criticizing Rav Spector."

    Of course not. These rabbonim simply use poltical bullying to get their way. They also publically criticize people, schools,organizations and shopping centers that don't meet their fancy.
    And of course they have the power of the "cherem" (or semi-cherem) to force their positions on others. They ban organizations like Lema'an Achai from advertising and collecting in their shuls but would never ban their members from taking.

    "Maybe, just maybe, they have more derech eretz than the rest of us."

    Derech eretz, yes, by screaming nasty names and titles to David Morris in shul on Shabbos.

    Ah, what derech eretz.

  124. Sick of the fightingApril 28, 2010 10:20 AM

    Rabbi Malinowitz's reply posted on tzedk tzedek is missing an apology.
    He claims that what has been allegedly happening is against his and R. Davidovitz's policy, and people should file complaints with them.
    How about asking the mikve ladies?
    How about taking responsibility for what has already happened before you woke up and decided to make sure that the mikve ladies are acting appropriately?

    As for the DL side, I suspect that they aren't 100% clean either in this controversy.

    Politics and religion - don't mix well.

  125. I stand by my statement. Can anyone show me one town in this country that has a rabanut eiruv that the local DL do not rely on? Any? DL have always relied on the most lenient eiruv available.

    More to the point, the reason that there is a chareidi eiruv is not because the rabbonim couldn't sit down together and talk.

    And even if they would, and there was some sort of concession, it would still be interpreted as giving in to chareidi bullying, illegal interference, etc. yadda yadda. You just can't win.

  126. [interesting name; I wonder if he chose it to be based on Hamas the terrorist group or Hamas as in theft? both might apply...]

    המשיג - with a hei.

  127. if anyone has a picture of the sign hanging in the mikva about Friday night tevilla bein hashmashot can you send it to us? Apparently Rav Ovadia is being told this never happened. We would like to show him that it did. Please send us an e-mail to beyachadbs@gmail.com . Thanks.

  128. As a reader on this website, I feel regarding this discussion we should all try to remember we are all jews we should all respect each other and respect each person for their practices whether you agree with it or not. And instead of making constant fights over everything that happens in Ramat beit shemesh try and live in peace and work out ways to stop the constant conflicts and in that zechut Moshach will come.


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