Nearly 100 men and women gathered at the site of the beautiful new mikveh for a barbecue chanukas habayis in this breathtaking resort town, a popular tourist destination that attracts some eight million visitors a year.
Ocean City is a particular magnet for Jewish tourists and entrepreneurs, many of them from as far as Israel.
Up until now, the closest mikveh was in Baltimore, a three-hour drive each way. This was a painful reality for a community that has a vibrant Chabad, with steady minyanim even when the tourists are not in town.
As locals enjoyed the festive barbecue on Thursday, 12 Elul, they celebrated a whole new reality, that of a community where all of its inhabitants could choose taharah as a way of life.
Interestingly, the primary sponsor of the new mikveh is the Shiloach family of Brooklyn, which traces its roots in America to Ocean City, back when the city lacked even a minimal religious Jewish infrastructure. Who can better appreciate what a transformation these Divine waters will make?
Rabbi Noam Cohen of the local Chabad offered heartfelt thanks to Mikvah USA and the Shiloach family. He stressed the importance these waters have for the community. “Mikveh waters are so critical to Klal Yisrael,” Rabbi Cohen explained. “They are compared to the waters of Gan Eden.”
Rabbi Baruch Cywiak, director of Special Projects, Mikvah USA, urged the community to make use of the beautiful mikveh. “Try it out,” he urged.
A representative of the Shiloach family spoke of the family matriarch, Mrs. Molly Shiloach, OBM, after whom the mikveh is named. He shared how Molly had a visible and all-so-real relationship with Hashem that left a mark upon her descendants, leading to this meaningful eternal dedication.