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Ramat Beit Shemesh “balaniot” (in mikvah) scrub you till you bleed ??? scrub you till you bleed !!!
April 26, 2010, 1:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

JPOST: Friction between two religious communities in Ramat Beit Shemesh has surfaced once again, this time over who should take responsibility for the mikve (ritual bath) in a neighborhood that is equally inhabited by both haredi and  national religious communities, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The tension is focusing on a mikve that opened roughly two years ago on Nahal Dolev and was divided in two last summer by the city’s Religious Council so each community could follow its own interpretation of Jewish law.

However, according to women who came forward to the Post this week, and to numerous posts on a Ramat Beit Shemesh community Web site, haredi “balaniot” – bath attendants whose job is to check that women are properly prepared for their immersion – have now taken over the entire mikve and are making life unpleasant for women who do not share their more stringent beliefs.

“The mikve is supposed to be an uplifting and spiritual experience, but since these balaniot have taken over, I know many women who have chosen to go to other neighborhoods,” said one Ramat Beit Shemesh resident, who asked to remain anonymous.

She told the Post that during her last visit to the Dolev mikve, the attendant had scrubbed her elbows so hard to remove the dried skin that she was in pain for many days afterwards. Other women described similar incidents, with some women leaving the establishment bleeding and in serious physical pain.

“I have been going to the mikve for more than 13 years, and that experience has never happened to me before,” said the woman. “Women go to the mikve to cleanse themselves and so they can be with their husbands; there is no reason for them to go there and get hurt.”

She asserted that it was “all part of an attempt by the haredi community to take over the area.”

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I request that you Please immediately remove my photograph of the woman in the Mikvah that you have included at the top of this post. The copyright to this photo is registered with the US copyright office. Thank you.

Comment by Janice Rubin

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