May 11, 2010

The RBS mikva issue is over... or is it?

Is the RBS mikva issue really finished and over?

The following statement was sent out today by Rabbi Dov Lipman:
For weeks we have been working on many fronts to preserve the mikva on Dolev to be under the Rabbanut since this is the mikva in the area of most of the dati women in RBS. We met with members of Knesset, sent letters to the ministers involved, got messages to Rav Ovadiah Yosef and the Chief Sephardic Rabbi, and were in constant contact with the Rav HaIr and the new head of the city religious council. In addition, a large number of you showed up today with almost no notice to have a presence at the critical meeting between the Mayor and the Rabbanim involved.

I am happy to announce that Rav Spector signed on an agreement this morning which keeps the mikva on Dolev in the hands of the Rabbanut to service the dati and hareidi women who prefer their approach and there won't be any signs dividing the mikva and the community. The Rabbonim who had wanted to control that mikva will be given the mikva on Lachish where more of the population they serve live.

Special thanks to the Rabbonim from RBS, city councilmen Shalom Lerner and Jacky Edri, and to everyone else who took from their time to help the women of RBS and the city at large in this issue.
Have we now heard the end of this issue? That remains to be seen.

As another possible compromise (if the issue is not really as final as Rabbi Lipman makes it sound) - I am sure about 99% of the women, if not more, have absolutely no interest at all in what goes on regarding the physical structure of the mikva - how it is constructed, how often it is checked, the types of repairs, etc. All they care about is their personal mikvah experience.

Since the mikva ladies job is only to make sure the hair goes under the water all the way, and to help checking for chatzitzas when the women asks for such help and knowing when to ask a shailoh, what is the difference if the mikvah lady is haredi or dati leumi? Either way they should all be doing the same thing. So on the one hand a DL mikvah lady should be fine according to everybody and a haredi mikvah lady should be fine according to everybody. They are only there for assistance anyway.

So why is this an issue. Let the haredi rabbonim check the physical issues of the mikva and use whatever safety features and chumrahs they deem necessary and appropriate, and let the moetza run the mikva ladies using both haredi and non-haredi women since it doesnt matter anyway.


  1. I'm glad that an agreement was reached. It's too bad they couldn't (or didn't want to) find a way to work together.

    Since the lachish mikva is still funded by the moatza hadatit, can and will they impose restrictions on what goes on in the mikva? In other words, if they receive a complaint against a mikva lady, can they do anything about it, or is it completely in the hands of the supervising "rabbonim"?

  2. did you see the patshkaville that the dl put around the neighborhood streets?
    it was pretty low. the dl fought a pretty low war. i'm sure most of their complaints were as made up as those patshkavilles they thre all over the floor

  3. I did not see them. When were they put up? Maybe they are only on Dolev? I was just in the Merkaz Mischari a short while ago and didnt see anything

  4. made up? I called my rav sobbing to discuss a such a private matter just to get the chareidi community in some way? What sort of sick human being are you that would even have a thought all of it is made up. There are pictures and emails exposing some of the untruths from the chareidi community- have you seen a single empirical thing about a falsehood from the women complaining?

  5. raschel - maybe you don't exist and your whole story was made up. it would be matim with the rest of the low attacks that dl made the last month.
    but since the chareidim are quiet and don't go crying around over every attack of the DL you never even heard of them.
    they were thrown around last night late at night maybe someone cleaned them up by the morning

  6. if anyone out there knows what they said and let me know, or better, if you have one and can scan it and email it to me, please do.

  7. nice try, but Rafi knows who I am. I have put my name to everything I have written on this topic. I was one of the first women to go to any of the local rabbonim, and went to him long before I knew anything about it being a political issue.

    But thanks for telling me I do not exist.

  8. Anonymous,

    Seems to me an anonymous person has more of a credibility issue than someone who is willing put their name and reputation on the line in order to protect themselves and others.

    I guess you follow the Rabbonim in this city that hold that anytime there is a problem, it couldn't possibly be true and therefore did not happen. Much easier to call someone a liar than helping them. I hope you never have to face the cold shoulder of a community in your time of need.

  9. ehwhy
    at least i don't go around insulting rabbonim with low attacks

  10. since when is repeating their own words/psak back an attack? I might not exist, but you, anonymous, are a coward and and a fool.

  11. Anonymous,
    You offer a blanket accusation that everyone is lying, without any investigation on your own. You have the audacity to accuse everyone else of being low. Pot meet kettle.

    Perhaps you should ask Rav Ovadia how he felt when he was shown proof that the sign about toiveling on Friday did exist after being told it hadn't.

    I have personally witnessed Rabbis ignoring situation, where a community leader is needed. It is their prerogative to take that course of action does not mean it is the right thing to do.

  12. Rachel
    I don't know which attacks you are reffering to. That patshkeville had nothing to do with their own psak.
    I might be considered a coward for not saying my name.
    I am not sure why I am a fool. For questioning whether your story is true? Perhaps I would be a fool if I actually believed everything I read on the internet. It's either I believe your story is exactly the way you say it and the rabbanim are as you describe them. Or I believe that the rabbonim are talmidey chachamim who are moser nefesh for the tzibbur and something doesn't make sence about your story.
    I have more proofs to thing highly of the rabbonim than I do to believe what you have to say

  13. Ehwhy
    To quote commentators on previous threads:
    Rav ovadya didn't here both sides of the story, didn't conven a beis din, and there is no way to verify that he actually said it.
    I heard from an adom gadol that most of what they say in his name he never actually said

  14. Integrity winsMay 11, 2010 6:47 PM

    At least two chareidi rabbonim were caught making outright lies over the past few days, regarding the mikva issue.

    One was caught lying to the public on this blog.

    The other was caught lying to Rav Ovadiah Yossef.

    It makes a nice change that, despite their ends-justify-the-means apprach - they lost.

    And not just lost the mikva - they lost their credibility also.

  15. well mr. A. People know who I am and I stand by my words and my reputation. You unwillingness to stand behind your opinion in public shows everyone reading this how much even you value what you have to say.

    In 120 years I hope you do not get the same level of trust you have given others. I am listening to people I trust without seeking truth on my own is an excuse that has been used before.

    If even 1 woman stops going because she has been mistreated, the onesh is on your head and those like you- and from what I learned in kallah classes from a very reputable rav, it is a rather severe onesh.

  16. please, lets stop the personal attacks, on both sides. discuss the issues, or keep quiet.

  17. Mr. Anonymous, what do you mean he didnt hear both sides of the story? I heard that one night Rav Davidovitz went (with Abutbol I think) and presented their case to Rav Ovadya. The next day the DL rabbonim went to Rav Ovadia.

    If that is true,m, he heard both sides of the story.

    Please clarify what you meant.

  18. Anonymous "I am not sure why I am a fool."

    You are a fool because you are routinely patronizing to intelligent people.

    You are a fool because you are personally abusive to those who raise challenging questions and issues.

    You are a fool because you lash out with slurs like "liar" and "chareidi basher" - and this is a cover-up for when you yourself lie and are bigotted.

    You are a fool because you shoot out your opinions without a second's thought - and spend a lifetime covering up your stupid errors, rather than honestly admit to poor judgements or genuine mistakes.

    Anonymous - there are many reasons you are a fool.

  19. enough with the attacks.

    I would like to know what Mr. Anonymous means about Rav Ovadya not having heard both sides, when I heard that he davka did.

    Besides that, I still dont see why this whole thing should be an issue. Let the haredi rabboinim inspect the physical Dolev mikva as often as they need. That bothers nobody. And the balanit dont do anything anyway besides assistance that the woman might ask for, so that doesnt matter. A haredi woman who wants to be more machmir with her chatzitza issues can easily be more machmir and ask for more assistance.

  20. rafi- from where are you getting that they do nothing but what women ask for? That was the impetus of this whole thing- in some cases they were doing far more! If you mean that from now they should not, than we are in total agreement.

  21. I am referring to what the responsibility of the mikva lady is. to check that the hair goes under the water and to help if the woman wants help with something. and to know when a shailoh needs to be asked.

  22. rafi, what they do/what they NEED to do is comparing apples to oranges. There are lots of people who go over and above their job requirements, and so long as they are being helpful/not hurting someone else, that is all fine and dandy. In practice, whether it is what they should be doing or not, some were doing more and it was hurting people (so long as you do not believe the complaining victims are making it all up).

    If they were just doing their jobs many the complaints would not have arisen in the first place.

  23. Rafi.
    I didn't mean anything like you understood. I was just trying to make a point that the same people (or perhaps not the exact same people, but the outlook) who refused to believe that rav eliyashiv wrote the letter (from the yeshiva tichonit post) because of all those reasons, all of a sudden believe hands down that rav ovadyah shlit"a (also no youngster) says what is contributed to him.
    I wasn't claiming anything in particular about this specific case as I don't know much either. Just making a point.
    Also I apologize for allowing things to sidetrack to personal attacks. Keep up the good work

  24. The mikva issue is far from over. Round 1 was won by the DL but be prepared for round 2. I hear the mayor forced the moetza datit to agree to signing over Lachish to R Davidovitz, but the DL Rabbonim were not consulted, neither were their representatives, and they are not bound by this decision.
    Why should women who go to the Lachish mikva have to suffer at the hands of the machmir balaniyot? It is definitely an accomplishment that the mayor could not get away with giving the Charedi rabbonim both mikvas, as he wished, but they should not be getting one either. The mikvaot belong to the moetza datit and should be run by Rav Spector. Anyone who is not happy with that, can build their own. Especially anyone who feels that a DL balanit is not good enough for them (which is what R Davidovitz reportedly told one of the DL Rabbonim just a few days ago)

  25. I Call for Achdus and Sanity for RBSMay 11, 2010 10:40 PM

    Rafi, please delete any posts dealing with people discussing personal stories or personal attacks. They are not helpful. Clearly, some women were unhappy with their mikva experiences, and due to the nature of the situation, they can't always discuss the stories. I mean, a man hopefully won't come into shul and tell his friends, "So last night, my wife was sitting there naked when this lady comes at her scab with an nail file and made her bleed..." Let's assume there were some stories, and hopefully now that rabbis and others are aware, we will not hear such stories again.

    I am glad to hear Rav Ovadia Yosef heard about the sign in the mikva which told Sefradi women NOT to tovel when they were supposed to (and in contrast to the new high school issue which can EASILY be misrepresented to a gadol - what they will teach, what the hashkafa will be, who the students are - it is pretty hard to take the sign we ALL SAW WITH OUR EYES hanging in the mikva two ways. I mean, what else could it mean when a sign says it is ASSUR for "kol haEidot" to "tovel bein hashmashot?")

    I hope everyone realizes that it is important for a community to have one mikva that women feel they can all go to. And I hope no woman was "turned off" to this mitzva because of being made to feel bad at a mikva. My hope is that this community will realize that a mikva with one less chumra in the pool but more achdus is what most normal women (and men!) care about.

  26. Where is the precedent or legal 'heter' that allows the iriyah to hand over moatsah institutions to any private rav (friend of the mayor) who feels like taking over??
    What is going on in Iriyat Bet Shemesh?
    This is certainly not the end of the story...

  27. I just heard a very important point. supposedly, at the agreement and signing, Rav Kopshitz was present giving his approval. Everybody should know that it is he who controls this city because Abutbol doesn't move without first getting approval from Rav Kopshitz. This Rav of the Eida Chareidis is the guy telling Abutbol how we can live our lives.

  28. Normalcy For RBSMay 11, 2010 11:01 PM

    HaRav Chayim, HaRav Chayim Solo, HaRav Chayim Soloveichik.

    Job well done!

  29. "One {Chareidi rav) was caught lying to the public on this blog."

    I'm clueless what this means...
    Could you explain who's been lying on Rafi's blog??


  30. Dovid - I heard that as well tonight. I havent confirmed it anywhere but the person who told me seemed to know what he was talking about

  31. Rav Kupshitz was not present at the meeting, but his assistant was.
    The mayor does not make a move without Rav Kupshitz's approval.

  32. I think that the inappropriate Charedi balanit was very unfortunate, and it's a testimony to the way the charedi community operates (i.e. no mikvah issues belong in the hands of the women) that she was allowed to affend so many women before the situation was dealt with.

    Anonymous it's really stupid and unnecessary to tell Rachel she's lying - the Rabbanim never made an announcement that this didn't happen, and in fact Rav M. is still conducting meetings with women who come forward and say they were "over-checked."

    Everyone who hasn't been emotionally affected by a bad balanit knows that the procedures by any good mikvah lady are in a certain, appropriate, range.

    But I think that issue has nothing to do with the political one, who is in charge of a mikvah.

    I am embarrassed by the DL politicians' use of name-calling in this situation, just as I am embarrassed by the mayor's use of childish name-calling in his meeting with the DL Rabbanim.

    Frankly I don't care what's "legal" in terms of who supervises a mikvah - the Israeli Charedi Rabbanim of RBS wanted something they could authorize for their community, and any rejection of that request is inconsiderate and purely political.

    The argument that there are more "mesorati" women in RBS who will not feel comfortable within a Charedi framework is valid, but after what I've seen with the DL mudslinging I think it just worked out to be a convenient argument for them, not a sincere one.

    It's interesting that the Charedi supervision will now be in the larger mikvah which up until now had slightly fewer halachic hadarim. But otherwise the division is just right - geographically and giving the reliable and aesthetic mikvah to the population that has consistently demonstrated the most usage by more than double.

  33. Apparently the mevaker hamedina has some problems with rabbani shecunot that are on the payroll of moatza hadatit. You can see the report here:

    It's interesting that in Bet Shemesh there are 2 rabanei shechunot and both are in the same neighborhood!
    Essentially they serve all of Bet Shemesh and the work is just divided between them and the city rav.

  34. It's about Haredi SupremacistsMay 12, 2010 11:18 AM

    All these arguments back and forth about the mikveh madness are truly absurd.

    The esential problem amounts to certain Haredim's insatiable desire for absolute control and power. This has never been a problem with the non-dati-leumi rabbis.

  35. Complaints about any Mikveh under the umbrella organization the Moatza Datit of Bet Shemesh (including the Lachish Mikveh, since it was built and is funded by the Moatza Datit) may be filed with the Moatza Datit of Bet Shemesh.

    As a public service I bring to the community's attention the information I have found about to how to file a complaint if someone has been mistreated at a Mikveh. For the public good, in order to correct the situation, women who have endured mistreatment of any kind at the Mikveh are requested to file formal complaints (and this is true of any Mikveh anywhere in Israel).

    Here is what I learned about filing such a complaint in Bet Shemesh:
    Complaints about mistreatment at the Mikveh (including any physical mistreatment or threats, as well as violation of a woman's right to use the Mikveh according to her own Minhag) may be filed with Rav David Spector of the local Rabbinate. His phone numbers are: 052-385-9105, and 999-4987; and he meets with people at his home on Reuven Street in Scheinfeld at certain hours by appointment. He also has an office at the Rabbinate building downtown on Abba Naamat Street, and appointments with him at his office at the Rabbinate building can be made through the Rabbinate phone numbers: 991-1361, 991-2867. Rav Spector's Email address is: (This information is also available in the Shemeshphone on page 25e of the blue pages in English).

    Anyone who knows women who experienced mistreatment at the Mikveh (even if they were only "threatened" that they will not be allowed in the Mikveh pool unless they perform an injurious process or behave in contradiction to the Psak that they have received), should please encourage them to file a formal complaint. It is understandable that women, who have gone through an experience as traumatic as some of these experiences have been, might not want to dredge up the unpleasant memories by going through the formal complaint process; but the many oral complaints received so far by the women dealing with this do not result in any action being taken to correct the situation, so it is for the public good that women are being requested to file formal complaints if they have endured mistreatment of any kind at the Mikveh (and this is true of any Mikveh anywhere in Israel). Only formal complaints can help correct the situation, and, the more women who formally file their sincere complaints about unjustifiable behavior toward them, the more chance there is of ensuring that nothing like this will be allowed to occur in the future.

    Catriel Lev
    Ramat Bet Shemesh, Israel
    Mobile Phone: 050-205-7867
    Telephone: 02-991-4332

  36. Surprised by the DL pashkevilim, since the fight was led by Shalom Lerner et al. During the mayoral campaign they refused any opportunity to use those kinds of ugly labels and language. Maybe they decided that's why they lost and have changed their tune.

  37. What "DL pashkevilim" are you referring to?
    They obviously aren't very successful if no one has seen them or knows what they are about.

  38. I have no special connection to any of the rabbonim involved, am just a regular mispalel who davens all over in different shuls. I asked a couple of different local Rabbonim about why this is a fight and can't find an easy solution such as the ones suggested in the post (or others). The rabbonim (chareidim) say unequivocally that just like kashrus run by dati rabbonim and rabbanut is not considered kashrus, so the mikvas as well are nt considered mikvas if they are being run by dati leumi rabbis and the rabbanut

  39. so you mean that this is not about halacha, rather (just like kashrus) it is just about sinah to anyone who doesn't dress/act like them?

  40. that is far from the standard opinion even among haredi rabbonim. Perhaps among the more extreme rabbonim that is the opinion, but it is not the standard. Most say it is kosher and we are mehader for better.
    I personally have asked a number of rabbonim, even Rav Sheinberg, and have been told that even if I normally do not, in certain situations I can rely on Rabbanut. It is kosher, but we are mehader for better and chumras, but in certain situations it is fine to rely on rabbanut.
    I assume the same is for mikvas especially since the differences are far fewer than the differences by kashrus.

  41. With kashrus they seem to manage putting two hechsherim on one product, why can't they with a mikva.


Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...