Last week the purchase of a building for a much-needed mikvah and women’s center in the heart of East Flatbush was completed by Chayala’s Mikva.
The new mikvah will be at 340 East 52nd Street, what is the historical location of Ritualarium of East Flatbush built in the late 1950’s. The Rebbe himself donated to the construction of the mikvah and wrote several letters about the Mikvah.
Overseeing the building of the mikvah were prominent Chabad rabbonim in local shuls—Rabbi Yaakov Yehudah Hecht, the unforgettable chassid and director of NCFJE, and Rabbi Chaim Meir Bukiet, Rosh Yeshivah of central Tomchei Tmimim Lubavitch.
However, in the early 1980’s, the community began to dwindle and the finances to upkeep the mikvah was at risk. The Rebbe was consulted about the mikvah’s future and the Rebbe was adamant that the mikvah remain open. For many years it was maintained by the efforts of selfless individuals under the efforts of Rabbi Bukiet.
With that the mikvah was kept open all the years, and was always in use by the small East Flatbush Jewish community and from the neighboring areas.
In March of 2018, it became known that the mikvah building, which had since fallen into disrepair due to squatters, Ritualarium of East Flatbush was being sold to developers. Rabbi Shimon Hecht, director of the Rabbinical Board of East Flatbush, and Rabbi Dovid Zaklikowski, a grandson of Rabbi Bukiet, the purchase was stopped.
Mr. Sholly Levy and his wife Rivky teamed up with Rabbi Yakov Yosef Raskin from the East Flatbush community and decided to make the effort try to purchase it. They negotiated an affordable purchase price for the building and closed on it last week.
The mikvah will need to be rebuilt from the ground up as the previous structure is inappropriate for today’s standards, and had also been vandalized. The new mikvah will be certified to the highest standards of halacha, and numerous beautiful preparation rooms.
The mikvah will be dedicated in honor of Mr. Levy’s sister Chaya Moussia, “Chayala”, who was an incredibly lively and positive person, who never complained taking her life challenges as G-d’s unique plan. Chayala had an amazing moral compass and was very kind and compassionate. She was never afraid of challenges and found beauty in every moment and always brought a sense of fun and joy to life. She laughed through her challenges and uplifted her friends and family in the process. She tragically passed away in 1999 at the young age of seventeen.
The mikvah still requires significant funding and all donations will help make this urgent need a reality. Dedication opportunities are available. To learn more and donate visit Chayalasmikva.org.