The Tugman Bais Chabad mikvah will include three separate spaces, for women, for men and for vessels.
Women are eagerly awaiting the opening of the new Mallor Walder Community Mikvah Center at the Tugman Bais Chabad of West Bloomfield synagogue on Maple Road east of Orchard Lake. The approximately 2,500-square-foot facility, which is about triple the space of the current mikvah, is expected to open in May or June.
A mikvah is a ritual bath used by Jews who have become ritually unclean, which is not the same as physically unclean. It is most often used by women before their weddings, after their menstrual periods and after childbirth. Converts to Judaism need to immerse in a mikvah, and some men choose to do so before holy days or to mark life milestones. All mikvahs must include water from a natural source, such as rainwater.
The Tugman Bais Chabad mikvah will include three separate spaces, for women, for men and for vessels — dishes and pots that need to be kashered by immersion before use.
The women’s mikvah will be the centerpiece, and will look like a spa, said the congregation’s outreach director, Rabbi Shneur Silberberg.
The project’s architect is Jason Rogers of Southfield.
The interior design is by Julia Weinberg and Miriam Horwitz of the company Julia Robin Interiors. Weinberg, formerly of Southfield, now lives in Israel, and hopes to create a “mystical, spiritual and physically beautiful energy that only a mikvah can provide,” said Silberberg. “It’s going to be the nicest part of our building.”
The facility, named the Mallor Walder Community Mikvah Center, will have its own dedicated entrance. It is named in loving memory of Ethel C. Mallor and Gertrude C. Walder, mothers of Joseph and Elizabeth Mallor-Walder. Elizabeth is a one time member of Bais Chabad and is now the director of the Walder Foundation. Their Walder Foundation is a major donor for the project, as is Mikvah USA, based in Brooklyn.
The preparation rooms in the women’s mikvah will include beautiful building materials from around the world said the rabbi; much of the décor will use a water motif to portray the feminine connection to water. The rooms will also include original paintings by artist Michoel Muchnik of Brooklyn. In addition to providing privacy and a sense of holiness, the mikvah will allow women using it to feel pampered, the rabbi said; it will be a luxurious physical experience.
To highlight the “ancient energy” of the mikvah, the immersion pools will be lined with yellow stone resembling Jerusalem stone. Walls and floors will be cream-colored marbleized stone.
The mikvah’s opulence is part of a trend, he said. “Around the world, mikvahs are taking it up a notch.”
The congregation’s old mikvah is now closed. The new one will use that space and space from the social hall in the building’s lower level. The mikvah will have a separate entrance.
Representatives from other congregations in West Bloomfield, including Keter Torah and Ohel Moed, worked with Tugman Bais Chabad on the mikvah planning committee. The mikvah will be open to all, not only Bais Chabad members.
Something for the Whole Family
The congregation, with about 120 families, is also building a new playground adjacent to its building to serve children at Shabbat youth groups, Sunday religious school classes and summer day camps. It is named Marc’s Playground, dedicated by Bruce and Mindy Ruben in memory of Bruce’s brother, Marc Ruben.
At close to 4,000 square feet, the playground will have equipment to appeal to children of all ages, Silberberg said.
The synagogue’s congregants live within walking distance, and there are no playgrounds nearby; the closest is over a mile away, he said.
The playground, scheduled to open at the end of May, replaces an older, much smaller playground that has been removed.
“We have had a real burst of young families with lots of children, so this is long overdue,” said Silberberg.
He’s hoping the mikvah and the playground will encourage more young families to join them.
For more information, visit Mallorwaldermikvah.com.