By COLlive reporter
Ever since Laval’s only Mikvah burned down 8 years ago, Jewish men and women needed to travel to the nearby Montreal city for a ritual bath.
The suburb in Quebec, which had been declining in Jewish population for about 20 years, experienced growth in the late 1980’s through Francophone Sephardic influx.
Currently 4,000 Jews live there, with 4 orthodox synagogues serving them.
“Life without a Mikvah was a hardship,” says Rabbi David Raphael Banon, spiritual leader of Centre Communautaire Sépharade de Chomedey, a congregation founded in 1993.
Banon found the community very receptive when he announced building plans for a state-of-the-art men’s and women’s Mikvah at 675 Du Sablon, Chomedey.
Two locals- Vidal Israel and Yitzchak Bitton – happily coverd the costs, with an additional donation from Rav David Pinto, a known French rabbi who visits Laval.
The inauguration that took place in the summer was well attended by locals and Montreal’s two Chief Rabbis – Ashkenazic Rabbi Yonasan Binyomin Weiss and Sephardic Rabbi David Sabbah.
“This will strengthen the community and attract young couples,” Rabbi Banon told COLlive.
Banon, a member of Vaad Ha’ir – Beth Din of Montreal and a dayan in the Lubavitch community, added that “it was built ‘Bor Al Gabei Bor’ and according to other customs.”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was also attended by a delegation of local Lubavitch figures: Rabbi Berel Mochkin, Rabbi Itche Meir Gourarie, Rabbi Moshe Stern and Rabbi Zalmen Stiefel, another Shliach in Laval.