The Jewish laws regarding women’s' immersion in a mikveh, a Jewish ritual bath, are complex and exacting. Not exciting.
That is, until one feels the spiritual uplifting that the experience can offer. Bringing women to that spiritual plane is the goal of Women's Tent, a unique project of the Tsfat Mikveh and Education Center founded by Nachal Novea Mekor Chochma, Breslov Tsfat.
Located in the mikveh facility on the very spot where Elijah the Prophet revealed secrets to the Holy Ari, the fifteenth century kabbalistic master, Nachal Novea is building a special "womenspace" and Henna Room. Creative learning experiences through workshops, lectures, group tours and special events are designed to increase the understanding and spiritual uplifting that women can gain from participating in this special commandment which God gave to women alone.
Most mikves are located in plain and simple surroundings, built so that women can quickly shower and immerse in the mikve. The immersing woman recites a special blessing and returns home.
But, the Nachal Novea mikve has built a "spiritual spa," which opened in 2006, and is the largest and most modern mikveh facility in the entire Galilee and Golan. In addition to adhering to the laws regarding women’s ritual needs at a mikve, the Nachal Novea mikve is designed to provide a respectful and nurturing environment to allow women to see the fulfillment of this commandment on the high spiritual level that it is. The mikve includes a separate preparation room, transport chair and mikveh for handicapped women, all of which were specially planned and designed by the rehabilitation center at Tel Hashomer Hospital. In addition to the 14 luxurious preparation rooms, the facility also holds an elegant waiting room, beauty salon, consultation room and first aid room. The mikveh has separate passages for entry and exit, providing additional modesty and privacy. Special attention has been given to the different customs and cultural backgrounds (Ashkenazi and Sephardi) of the women the mikveh serves. It is also designed with the highest halachic and aesthetic standards along with the most advanced computer technology-making it the most unique mikveh facility in all of Israel.
Women's Activities and Workshops
This in itself is quite unique. But the major goal of the mikveh is educational, to promote women's body- soul awareness towards this discreet mitzvah and towards that end, a large itinerary of women's programs are being created. These include Arts and Culture Workshops (music, dance and visual arts), a Cooperative Gallery (to showcase womens' services, talents and creations), Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) Gatherings (for women to connect and inspire each other ), henna parties for brides and a Health Resource Library with free counseling service offering a safe and discreet resource for women.
Elisheva Mirvis, developer of the Women's Tent and its programs, explains: "The Kabbalah teaches us that when Hashem (God) destroyed the Second Temple, the "Shechina" (feminine aspect of the divine) retreated to Tsfat and it is here she is waiting for redemption. So too it is here in Tsfat that the Divine is being awakened by the connection of women to each other and to their wellspring of spirituality and purity".