Yitzchak Wallerstein

913 Grays Lane
in Kemp Mill, just off of
Kemp Mill Road
(301) 681-3737

User fees cannot be paid
via PayPal.
Please mail a check for
user fees to:
POB 1714
Silver Spring, MD 20915

The Mikvah Emunah Society of Greater Washington 
November 5, 2014

The Mikvah Emunah Society has been working diligently to ensure the sanctity of our mikvaot and has the following updates:

Security update. MES has completed a full security inspection of the Wallerstein Mikvah and the facility has been deemed to be clear of any covert video or audio devices. An experienced security professional conducted a technical surveillance countermeasure (TSCM) inspection of the premises and a thorough visual inspection of the building.

In addition to the steps we took two weeks ago to limit access to men unaccompanied by women, we are implementing a number of measures recommended by security professionals to maintain the security of the Wallerstein Mikvah going forward.

To those who are concerned that limiting men's access to the Wallerstein Mikvah suggests that men in our community in general, or any specific men in particular, are suspect, we want to be clear that in no way do we intend to impugn the integrity of anyone who has volunteered or contributed their time to MES mikvaot. We are immensely grateful for the dedication and commitment of our volunteers. A mikvah is a community facility and it is appropriate that all of us have a part in supporting its operations.

It is deeply distressing that we have had to take these steps; however, we are committed to doing all we can to make women feel comfortable that our mikvah is a safe and secure sacred space.

We continue to review the operations of the Woodside/Ballard Mikvah which is used by men on a daily basis. If any woman feels uncomfortable at that facility, we encourage her to use the Wallerstein Mikvah during the week while MES develops additional safety enhancements for the Woodside/Ballard Mikvah.

Community support. Developments of the last weeks have been painful, raising questions and sparking difficult conversations. To provide support to the community, we will continue to hold events which give us the opportunity to reflect, provide us with chizuk, and help renew our commitment to the mitzvah of taharat hamishpacha.

With the Kemp Mill Synagogue, on Sunday, November 9, at 7:30pm, Rabbanit Chana Henkin, founder and dean of Nishmat, will be speaking at KMS. This event is open to men and women.

With Chabad of Silver Spring and the Mikvah Ateres Yisroel of Potomac, on Sunday, December 7, at 7:30pm, Rivkah Slonim, educator and editor of Total Immersion: A Mikvah Anthology, will be speaking at the Silver Spring Civic Center.

In January, Robin Niman will be offering two sessions on the halachot of taharat hamishpacha. More details to come.

Women from across the community are welcome to attend any or all of these events.

The Mikvah Emunah Society is not affiliated with the National Capital Mikvah, but we provide the following information as a public service.

For women who had a personal connection, a National Capital Mikvah User Support Group is meeting in the Shepherd Park neighborhood of Washington, DC. This is a closed meeting for any former or current users of the National Capital Mikvah to join a group for support. The group is facilitated by a licensed therapist, in conjunction with the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse and funded by the Victim Witness Assistance Fund of the US Attorney's Office.

This group is meeting on Mondays from 8:30pm-10:00pm for four weeks, starting on Monday November 3, at a private address. It is not necessary to commit to attend all meetings. RSVP to ncmsgsp@gmail.com for the meeting location.

For those who need to speak to someone privately about recent developments, the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse has offered to work with anyone who feels in need of support during this time. All of their clinical services are free and their confidential client line is 301-315-8041. If your concerns relate to conversions, please reach out to us and we will refer you appropriately.

We also encourage you to contact one of us or email info@mikvahemunah.com with your suggestions, concerns and questions as we work to make the mikvah a comfortable place for all.

Howard Schulman, President drhowies@gmail.com
Naomi Baum, First Vice-President nbaum@verizon.net