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Ma’ayanot Seniors Visit Teaneck Mikvah

On Monday, February 6, Ma’ayanot seniors visited the Teaneck mikvah as part of a unit on hilchot niddah, with their teachers Mrs. Devora Dawidowicz, Mrs. Shira Donath and Mrs. Dena Block. Mrs. Nomi Rotblat, president of the mikvah, welcomed the students and gave a tour. The students also had the opportunity to ask questions to a panel of yoatzot halacha, including Mrs. Block, who also teaches Gemara and works as a yoetzet at the Mount Sinai Jewish Center in Washington Heights as well as the Stamford, Connecticut community, Mrs. Donath, who works as a yoetzet in Fair Lawn and is a teacher of psychology and halacha at Ma’ayanot, Mrs. Shiffy Friedman, a Ma’ayanot alumna (class of ‘06), who works as a yoetzet at the Young Israel of Scarsdale and the Hebrew Institute of White Plains and Mrs. Shoshana Samuels, who previously taught halacha and Jewish philosophy at Ma’ayanot and works as a yoetzet in Teaneck, as well as the Los Angeles community. Mrs. Dawidowicz is also a Gemara and halacha teacher and currently training for certification as a yoetzet at Nishmat’s Miriam Glaubach Center’s U.S. Yoatzot Halacha Program, from which the other women graduated.

“Ma’ayanot is unique in having so many yoatzot as part of the faculty and we also brought in others to give the students a chance to meet a range of women who are working in this field in different areas,” said Mrs. Dawidowicz. “We want students to have an authentic understanding of what a mikvah is and a recognition that there are people available to provide guidance in this area of halacha.”

The students enjoyed the opportunity to see the mikvah and ask questions about how it works. “It was cool to actually see firsthand the process that we had been learning about, making it less theoretical and more practical,” said Becca Borck, a Ma’ayanot senior.

“They really do everything they can to make the mikvah a comfortable and welcoming place,” added senior Aderet Brenner.

After the visit to the mikvah, the yoatzot described the high level of study and training required to achieve certification and explained their roles in the Jewish community. The students asked the panelists a broad range of questions relating to hilchot niddah, intimacy and mikvah use. “I’m so glad that Ma’ayanot affords our students the opportunity to learn about this important area of halacha in a comfortable, open way at this point in their Jewish education,” said Mrs. Block.

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