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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A new mitzvah in the kitchen

For Metrowest residents, dish-washing is becoming a more spiritual experience.

“The Dish Mikvah,” which opened last month, is the most recent installation of the Mei Menachem Western Well’s community mikveh, a state-of-the-art Natick facility aimed to serve roughly 40,000 Jewish individuals living west of Boston.
Rabbi Levi Fogelman and his wife, Chanie, the leadership at the Chabad Center of Natick, spearheaded the initiative with the intent to revitalize the “mitzvah of the mikveh,” as well as to address the importance of making dishes and other utensils kosher for household use.
“The goal of our Chabad, in general, is we look to promote mitzvot that need more attention,” Fogelman said. “People were unaware and didn’t know [what a dish mikveh was]. It’s a mitzvah that is not very well known, but yet it’s a mitzvah that was given to us in the Torah over 3,300 years ago.”
Featuring a counter-high surface for easy dipping, “The Dish Mikvah” is filled with a body of original rainwater that falls directly into the vessel. When an individual buys new dishes or eating utensils, Jewish law states that some of these items have to be immersed in the mikveh to become sanctified.
The Fogelmans told the Advocate that a breakfast and formal dedication for “The Dish Mikvah” is expected to be held on Oct. 14. An educational program about how to use the facility is being planned for after the holidays.
“We want to make this a very positive experience,” said Chanie, who noted that more than 20 people have already come to toivel – ritually immerse – their eating utensils.
Long awaited by the Jewish community, “The Dish Mikvah” was originally constructed approximately three years ago, but was unable to open until now because of a leak. The facility is housed in the same building as a women’s mikveh, educational resource center, preparation room, and men’s mikveh, which is currently under repair.
The completion of “The Dish Mikvah” was made possible through a generous donation by a Natick family who are members of the Chabad Center of Natick. According to Fogelman, the construction of the Mei Menachem Western Well, which was supported financially by countless donors in the community, cost more than half a million dollars.
David Joel, who made the generous donation to “The Dish Mikvah” in memory of his mother, Rose W. Joel, said he was honored to help finish up the project. Visiting the facility from time to time to toivel his eating utensils, David added that it’s a fitting way to remember his mother.
Said David: “It’s a nice thing to know that her memory will be there.”

For more information about “The Dish Mikvah,” call (508) 650-1499 or visit www.westernwell.org.

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