By COLlive reporter
Three Lubavitch affiliated groups are in the midst of a wrestle over the hearts and clicks of religious Jewish women, as they all launched online calendars for family purity in recent weeks.
For thousands of years, Jewish women calculated dates of Taharas Hamishpacha themselves or by consulting an orthodox rabbi.
Part of the complexity for working out these dates is that the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar, in which each new day starts at nightfall. Most people are used to the civil calendar, in which the new day begins at midnight.
Innovation and computer technology has led to the establishment of no less than three websites – MYmikvahcalendar.com, mikvahminder.com and MikvahCalendar.com – with the same goals, each boasting its own tools, design, and rabbinical supervision.
COLlive has mapped out the competition for you:
Owner: Mikvah.org/Taharas Hamishpacha International, a division of Machne Israel Inc.
Supervision: Rabbi Sholom Ber Chaikin of Cleveland, OH, and renowned Chosson teacher.
Tools: Interactive calendar, SMS and email alerts, video tutorials, ‘Ask A Rabbi,’ adapts to travel past International Time Line, toll free number for live help 1-866-908-2468.
Price: Free for now (sponsored in part by the Rohr Family Foundation through Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch).
Pitch: “The Rolls Royce of online mikvah calendars and the only one launched under the auspices of Merkos. We include many of the same familiar features that THI has incorporated in their signature hard copy.”
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Owner: MikvahMinder L.L.C. / Avraham Dubosky, Tuvia Givre.
Supervision: Rabbi Elchonon Lisbon, Rav of Congregation Ohel Levi Yitzchok, Baltimore, Maryland.
Timeline: Idea born in November 2006. Givre: “My wife and I were having trouble remembering all the details, and I was wondering why there wasn’t a computer program to help.” It took two years to develop.
Tools: Interactive calendar, SMS and email alerts, global Mikvah directory, newsletter, purchase Mikvah supplies.
Price: $18 per year. Free trial for three months.
Pitch: “If we can help one woman keep Taharas HaMishpacha who would have not otherwise kept it, I feel we have done our job. Although, we hope a lot more people will benefit from our project.”
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Owner: Cheshbon LaNefesh / Rivkah Bloom.
Supervision: Rabbi Fishel Jacobs of Kfar Chabad, author of “Family Purity – A Guide to Marital Fulfillment.”
Timeline: It took Mrs. Bloom four years to develop together with a colleague from MIT who “would like to remain anonymous.”
Tools: Interactive calendar with choice of visual backgrounds, Chabad and Ashkenazic customs (Sephardic coming soon), SMS and email alerts, ‘Ask the rabbi’ section.
Price: Free until July 15. After that, $18 per year.
Pitch: “Even single women and men and people of other faiths would enjoy the website because they can understand in a tangible way how every aspect of a Jewish life can be holy.”