“They Want to Hear More” – Mikvah USA Launches Comprehensive Education Division with Continental Reach
May 29, 2018
“When a couple is debating whether to begin observing taharah, I advise them to just try it for four months. In all my fifteen or so years of doing this, only one couple stopped observing once the four months were over.”
Mrs. Rochel Goldbaum points to her vast kiruv experience when stressing the promise of outreach when it comes to the topic of taharah. Contrary to what many would assume, even minimally observant – or fully secular – Jewish couples are often open to experiencing taharah. It is very common that a couple would undertake taharah before bedrocks such as Shabbos or kosher. Typically, once they experience the beauty and promise of taharah, they yearn to experience additional aspects of Torah and mitzvos. One cannot overestimate how much potential outreach in this area has. “After delivering any presentation on this topic to a lesser observant audience, approximately 10% of the audience comes over immediately to say, ‘I am ready!’” Mrs. Goldbaum relates. “They feel like they were ‘robbed’ by not knowing about mikvah earlier.”
Mikvah USA Meets Outreach
Since 2004, the Brooklyn-based Mikvah USA organization has helped complete over sixty contemporary, strictly kosher mikvaos in communities across North America – from New York City to Carolina, Puerto Rico – and is in the midst of constructing or renovating over forty additional mikvah projects.
Now, the organization has gone full force to spread taharah beyond brick-and-mortar, with the founding of its Education Division, which will be wholly dedicated to informing and inspiring women in communities across the continent on the topic of taharah. “When you build a beautiful mikvah in a community, you are giving members the opportunity for a pleasant taharah experience,” explains Mrs. Shoshana Kay, Program Director, “but ultimately the women must be informed and motivated to take advantage of it.”
With this reality in mind, Rabbi Yitzchok Bistritzky, shlit”a , Founder and President of Mikvah USA, launched a seminar program just over two years ago. The program sponsored over 200 seminars across North America, which helped strengthen knowledge and meaning for countless current taharah observers, and brought countless others toward observance. Now, with the founding of the Education Division, the education and outreach activities have been brought to a whole new level.
Foundations of Success
Some of the most talented and experienced personalities in the kiruv field are at the helm of the Education Division.
Mrs. Goldbaum serves as the Director of Education for the Division. A former resident of Lakewood, Philadelphia and Ottawa, Canada – who currently lives in Denver – Mrs. Goldbaum is a renowned speaker in communities and college campuses across the continent. Her advice on issues of marriage and taharah are particularly sought-after. She is also the author of a popular handbook on taharah for beginners, which was published by Oorah.
Mrs. Kay has years of successful experience in campus kiruv and nonprofit development, along with extensive involvement with Mikvah USA over the past year as a Seminar Speaker. She serves as Executive Director of Meor at Temple and Drexel Universities in Philadelphia. Meor is a renowned college outreach organization on 21 campuses across America, guided by Rabbi Beryl Gershenfeld, shlit”a. Mrs. Chana Gitty Willner, a longtime Board member at Kosloff Torah Academy High School near Philadelphia, serves as Community Outreach Director of the Education Division. Mrs. Chana Carlebach, Director of Bais Moshe Chaim Teacher’s Seminary in Quebec, Canada – a renowned educator and speaker – will work alongside Mrs. Goldbaum in the Division’s training realm. Mrs. Rivkah Schwartz serves as Program Administrator.
A very diverse group of highly regarded speakers from across the country will serve as motivational speakers and follow-up speakers. They include: Mrs. Gevura Davis, Mrs. Debbie Greenblatt, Mrs. Chani Juravel, Mrs. Adina Stilerman, Mrs. Eve Levy, Mrs. Sigy Laredo, Mrs. Matti Blackman, Mrs. Rivka Malka Perlman, Mrs. Chana Weisberg, Mrs. Goldi Plotkin, Mrs. Chana Carlebach, Mrs. Miriam Lipskier, Mrs. Nalini Ibrigamov, Mrs. Sarah Karmely, Mrs. Sarah Fineman and Mrs. Tamar Livingstone.
Comprehensive and Effective
Through this division, Mikvah USA will provide transformative educational programs to as many as 100 communities in its first year across North America, with the goal of bringing 300 families to taharah this year.
In each community, a speaker will deliver a “soft” presentation on taharah along with valuable general marital guidance. This speaker or another member of the Education Division will be available for a follow-up presentation in the community and/or for one-on-one consultation by community members.
In addition, the division will offer training to rebbetzins, kiruv professionals and/or kallah teachers in each of these communities so that they will be able to guide locals on marriage and taharah issues on their own with the utmost effectiveness.
Needless to say, the program and each of its presentations are organized with great professionalism and attractiveness, backed by an array of beautiful, informative and easy-to-understand literature and multimedia resources. More than the specific details, it is the overarching message of taharah outreach that strikes a chord in the neshama of every Jew: Taharah symbolizes hope and renewal, and greatly
enhances one’s overall experience in marriage and maintaining a Jewish home.
The Education Division will launch a comprehensive social media campaign in the near future so that its activities and message can reach as broad an audience as possible.
The Education Division was officially launched at a special two-day Mikvah USA conference held on Sunday and Monday, May 13th and 14th in Brooklyn. Leaders and members of the new division gathered for a packed program filled with chizuk, inspiration, networking and professional workshops on how to best succeed in this sacred mission, b’siyatta d’Shmaya. Rabbi Bistritzky; Board Members Reb Yaty Weinreb and Reb Shlomo Frand; Reb Baruch Cywiak, Director of Special Products; and other Mikvah USA leadership figures visited the event as well. They were highly impressed by the professionalism and promise they saw.
“Mikvah USA is dedicated to doing everything we can on behalf of taharah in America, and will not rest as long as there is anything that can still be done anywhere on the continent,” says Rabbi Bistritzky. “I am grateful to Hashem that we have been able to launch this new division with the participation of so many talented and dedicated professional mekarvos who share our goals.”
For more information about the Education Division, or to arrange a Ladies Auxiliary in your neighborhood to support education projects, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.