Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Can mikvah use save the world?

A group of Jews in Borough Park and Petak-Tivka are spreading the message that the answer to our problems is for Jewish men and women to use the mikvah ritual immersion pool on a regular basis. They add that a Jewish family should spend on mikvah outreach the amount it spends annually on its own mikvah use. Mikva-Tikva estimates this to be $250-$500, which is probably accurate. (A woman who is neither pregnant nor nursing might spend $250 for the year; her husband's annual pass would probably cost the same.) The organization also advises against: using non-Hebrew names; smoking in public; and buying foreign cars.

When these men came on a fundraising visit to a shul where I was davening shacharis, one member used the term "silver bullet." He's probably right. Mikvah use can be very inspiring and fulfilling for men and women. It's a step in the right direction. But it won't solve all our problems.

One minor note: automobiles with Big Three nameplates have so many foreign-made parts; and so many foreign automakers produce vehicles in the U.S.--that the difference between a domestic and foreign automobile is no longer so clear. A Chrysler can have a German engine, and a Honda can be shipped all the way from Kentucky.

They're right about smoking. Limiting smoking in any way--not on shabbos, not with others, not indoors--reduces usage. And that is a critical step to a healthier, smoke-free lifestyle.

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