April 16, 2024
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Teaneck Mikvah Association Honors Staff at Eighth Annual Women’s Event

Each November, approximately 600 women from across the Teaneck, Bergenfield and New Milford communities attend the Teaneck Mikvah’s most important fundraiser, its annual women’s event. The event is a chance to support the mikvah and express hakarat hatov to those who dedicate themselves to its operation and success. This year, on Monday, November 20, at 7:15pm, guests will have the opportunity to express their gratitude not just to one honoree, but to the entire staff, women who dedicate themselves to the mikvah and to the mitzvah of taharat hamishpacha.

The mikvah staff wholeheartedly embraces their critical and sensitive roles with professionalism and respect. They work together to provide the most positive experience possible, whether it is fielding questions that come up, shuffling schedules to help out a fellow mikvah staff member or even learning the technical aspects of how the mikvah functions. “I have only been part of this ‘mikvah team’ for a few months…and I feel like it is more of a family than a team,” said one of the most recent additions to the staff, Chani Gildin.

The shomrot and receptionists meet with Rav and Rebbetzin Neuburger of Congregation Beth Abraham, both as a group and individually, when they begin working at the mikvah. “Our attendants are selected for their ability to communicate the importance of the mitzvah and the excitement that can be a part of it,” Rav Neuburger said. “They are selected, trained and coached by our chief shomeret Mrs. Miriam Feman, who through years of experience and great love for every Jew and every mikvah is one of the jewels in our crown.”

“The mikvah staff ensures that the mikvah is up and running for the patrons to use in the beautiful and serene environment women have come to appreciate, and they are proud to play a role in helping women perform the mitzvah in a positive and dignified manner,” said Nomi Rotblat, president of the Teaneck Mikvah Association.

As in many jobs, the mikvah staff undergoes periodic continuing education in the form of halacha refreshers and sensitivity training. “It is a top priority to us that our patrons feel respected and that they have a positive experience,” said Rotblat. “We meet once or twice a year to see how we can make it better for our patrons. We understand that each person is different and we try our best to accommodate to their individual needs,” explained long-time shomeret Shana Schmidt.

Chana Sytner joined the staff of the mikvah, eager to be a part of this timeless mitzvah. She explained, “The role of the shomeret is defined by her unwavering commitment to helping women fulfill the mitzvah of taharat hamishpacha with dignity and compassion. The Teaneck Mikvah is staffed by professionals with a singular focus on supporting each woman during her personal time at the mikvah.” This sentiment perfectly captures what Rav Neuburger described as the dual nature of the role of the shomeret. “The mikvah attendant is forever balancing the sacredness of the mikvah with the practical requirements of the mikvah preparations—assisting in those preparations and respecting the privacy and personal ownership of the mitzvah.”

“I am so proud of my team and honored to work with such a professional and dedicated group,” said Feman about the shomrot and receptionists. “I continue to learn from them, and when I am not there I know that my mikvah is in good hands.”

In an evening dedicated to accomplished women, the Teaneck Mikvah is honored to be hosting Chava Willig Levy as the keynote speaker. Levy is an award-winning lecturer, editor, advocate and author with a particular interest in childhood, parenthood, Judaism, disability and family life, and authored her memoir, “A Life Not With Standing.”

In addition to being an entertaining evening with an opportunity to reconnect with friends and make new ones, the annual women’s event is an essential fundraiser, complete with fabulous raffle prizes. Funds raised enable the mikvah to close the budget gap that the nightly usage fees and other fundraising campaigns do not cover. Although the mikvah board is grateful to the shul memberships, presidents and rabbis for adopting the mikvah assessment on the shul bills, these funds do not completely cover insurance premiums, salaries, utilities, mortgage payments, repairs, maintenance and other monthly expenses. “The generous sponsorships from the annual event are critical in helping us cover our expenses,” said Ruchi Tiger, the mikvah’s treasurer.

As in past years, this year’s event will be held at Congregation Keter Torah, located at 600 Roemer Ave in Teaneck. To register and sponsor, visit www.teaneckmikvah.com/event.

By Jenny Gans

 

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