This website is about how we made our own kosher mikveh (Jewish ritual bath) in our back yard. Our intention is that the mikveh can be used by anyone in the community for various purposes: conversion to Judaism, monthly cycles (taharat hamishpacha), before weddings, sabbaths and holidays. It can also be used for personal rituals of renewal and healing.
We are inspired in part by the popular example of The Jewish Catalogs which encourage ordinary Jews to be empowered with the knowledge to do mitzvot (e.g. tie tzitzit, lay tefillin, hang a mezuzah, write a ketubah, build a sukkah, make a menorah, huppah, etc.) We are also inspired by our teachers, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z"l, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, z"l, and Rabbi Myron Kinberg, z"l, who encouraged the use of mikveh.
In some Jewish communities, mikvaot are built by and for the orthodox only, exercising strict control and often excluding non-orthodox Jews. Our aim is to ensure that all Jews have access to this beautiful traditional ritual. The halakhah does not have to be complicated or mysterious, nor is it prohibitively expensive to build a mikveh if the design is simple. Helpful resources include the Artscroll Tractate Mikvaot (Hebrew-English with clear text and drawings), and Rabbi David Miller's informative book, The Secret of the Jew, which details Rabbi Miller's thoughts and designs for do-it-yourself home mikveh projects.
Our first mikveh was a simple garden pond that we dug in our back yard. We surrounded it with river rocks and ferns, and allowed it to fill naturally with 40 seahs (200 gallons) of rainwater. We named it Berekat Shekinah, and it was used frequently. The mikveh described on this website is our second one. It is a side-by-side mikveh which means it has two pools. The smaller pool (the bor) fills with 40 seahs of rainwater, and connects to the larger immersion pool by a small opening called the kissing hole.
Over the years we examined a number of mikvaot (plural of mikveh), obtained some blueprints, and were also able to observe firsthand some of the construction of a valid mikveh. Construction of our present mikveh began in January 2003. As the project proceeded we placed here photographs that show relevant details.
We invite you to
Or, you can move up one level.