Noting that “in the Hebrew month of Adar, we increase in joy,” Chabad-Lubavitch and community leaders gathered last week in Moscow for the opening of two luxurious new mikvahs.
The ritual baths were inaugurated by Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Berel Lazar, the chief rabbi of Russia, who affixed the mezuzahs at the main entrances to the buildings and helped cut the ribbons on both.
Also participating were Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu of Tzfat (Safed), Israel; Rabbi Alexander Barada, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia; Rabbi Avraham Bekerman, director of the Women’s Institute Machon Chamesh; along with donors, community members and other distinguished guests.
During the Soviet Era, when the construction and maintenance of mikvahs were forbidden, Chabad Chassidim risked their lives to ensure that clandestine mikvahs were available for Jews in cities and towns throughout the U.S.S.R.
When there was no mikvah, it was not unheard of for people to break the ice on frozen lakes and rivers in order to immerse. These new mikvahs will serve the large and growing Jewish communities in Russia’s capital city.