July 19, 2024
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Paramus Community Spreads Awareness of Ladies’ Mikvah

The Sephardic Congregation of Paramus (SCOP) on 140 Arnot Place is the home of this town’s best kept secret——the ladies’ mikvah. But the shul’s members don’t want to keep it that way, and they are looking for ways to spread the word about its accessibility.

The Paramus mikvah is private and out of the way, which is helpful if you want to avoid a long wait and don’t want to run into people you know, explained Rebbetzin Ariel Pardo. Both she and her husband, Rabbi David Pardo, moved into the community as the new rabbi and rebbetzin in time for Shavuot.

“I’m hoping that it really becomes a cornerstone of the community,” Rebbetzin Pardo said. “It’s really beautiful, and it’s important that we maintain it.”

The idea for a mikvah originated around 1991 with Rabbi Mordechai Kuber, Rav of K’hal Adath Jeshurun of Paramus (KAJP), the shul that was in place before SCOP, and was completed in the spring of 2005. It was built with the help and halachic guidelines of Rabbi Mordechai Kuber, Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky and Rabbi Yisroel Teichman, all of whom were the leaders of KAJP during the years of the mikvah’s construction. The mikvah is formally called the Claire Katzenstein Mikvah of Paramus, in memory of a beloved founding member of KAJP.

Members of KAJP at the time, such as Howard and Rochelle Gans, were more than eager to support the mikvah’s construction. They helped get approval for the mikvah’s design in its early stages, helped with fundraising and maintained it for years after it was finally constructed.

Even though the mikvah was built at KAJP, the Ganses stressed that it was built to benefit the entire Jewish community. They credit the rabbis of KAJP, the mikvah ladies and other supporters of the mikvah’s construction for helping to bring a new opportunity for the Paramus community to grow in their mitzvot.

“We’re just the worker bees,” said Mrs. Gans. “The credit goes to the rabbanim and the mikvah ladies.”

Leadership has changed hands since KAJP became a Sephardic shul, and sephardic community members have helped take over some of the responsibilities of the mikvah since the Gans family retired from the position two years ago. Community members take care of the basic maintenance of the ladies’ mikvah.

Rebbetzin Pardo’s plan is to make it easier for current and future mikvah users to schedule appointments, through a newly created website, paramusmikvah.com. The site also offers sources explaining the preparation needed for the mikvah and invites users to contact community leaders with any questions.

The hours are flexible and clients are encouraged to call in order to place appointments. Appointments must be made by 9 p.m. the preceding night, and clients must receive a confirmation phone call prior to arrival.

The mikvah is not open to men, with the exception of erev Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, with limited hours during that season.

The shul also boasts a keilim mikvah, which was designed at the same time as the ladies mikvah. It is open 24 hours and six days a week.

For more information please call 201-967-9894. You can also email Rebbetzin Pardo at [email protected] for any other questions.

By Elizabeth Zakaim

 

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