Monday, 14 June 2010

Purity with Dignity - Featured in "Living Jewish"

Nechama was recovering from a severe work-related injury that transformed ordinary activities into formidable challenges. The nature of the injury and precautions set up by doctors in the first few weeks prevented her from bending over, and minor errands were a huge undertaking. As she marked her calendar, Nechama viewed the special date with trepidation; how would she be able to prepare properly for her immersion in the mikveh while her body was frequently riddled with pain and constant dizzy spells? She did not want to faint in the water.

It is said that anyone who strives to purify herself is given assistance from Above. Nechama explained carefully her needs to her mikveh attendant, and they were like angels in disguise checking on her and helping wherever necessary. In addition to the attention and care she received with her preparations, Nechama discovered that someone had generously covered her mikveh fees. Since her temporary disability had rendered her unable to work, Nechama’s heart was warmed by such consideration and said she was grateful that her name didn’t have to be written in the mikveh ladies thick notebook of debts.

Rabbi Eliyahu Shear and Shoshana Shear with rabbinical approval and Hallachic guidance of Rabbi Fishel Jacobs started the organization “Purity with Dignity” to assist women who cannot pay their fees for the mikveh. While a mikveh fee might seem like a minor amount of money, the sad fact is that there are women who have to scrimp on food choices for their families to pay for their monthly trip to the mikveh, and their debts can quickly pile up. When the Shears raised the 800 shekel to cover one woman’s substantial debt, the mikveh lady confessed that Purity with Dignity had done a chesed not only for the woman, but for the mikveh lady, who felt a stabbing pain in her heart at the thought of reminding a poor woman that she had outstanding debts.

As a spin off of Purity with Dignity, the Shears started the organization “Bayit Chadash” providing basic items for needy Kallahs, along with a package of necessities for a woman’s first trip to the mikveh. Rabbi Jacobs commented; “The Shears are not only helping defray immersion related costs, they are literally making embarking into a life of marriage not something to dread. Rather into that special dream it is meant to be.” If you would like to make a contribution, please visit
Miriam Metzinger,

--- This article was published on Living Jewish

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