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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Blog Guest: Response to "Construction begins on Valley's first community mikvah"

"An emerging tradition: Construction begins on Valley's first community mikvah" (Jewish News of Phoenix, 11/17/06) discusses the construction of a community mikvah in Phoenix, AZ. The article states the following about Orthodox involvement in the mikvah:
Rabbi Darren Kleinberg, spiritual leader of KiDMa - The Southwest Community,which is Modern Orthodox, explained that CBI's mikvah "stands for hope and rebirth for the Jewish community." He added that the new mikvah is expected to be built "according to halachic standards" making it "kosher" for all denominations, including those who are Orthodox.

"The fact that this mikvah will be on the campus of a Reform synagogue does not make it a Reform mikvah," he said.
Rabbi Eliyahu Ferrell gave me permission to post a Letter to the Editor he sent to the Jewish News of Phoenix. Rabbi Ferrell states his concerns with Rabbi Kleinberg's involvement in the mikvah.
To the Editor:
In my opinion, any connection of Rabbi Darren Kleinberg to the new mikvah is very dismaying.

It seems to me that, in his house of worship, Talmudic law is abrogated at will. For example, the order of public prayer there does not include recital of the three Talmudic blessings through which a man thanks G-d for having been given the sanctity of a Jew and the responsibilities of Jewish manhood. [An individual man at services is allowed to say these three blessings on his own, though.] Instead, his service contains a made-up blessing. And--as I have documented in a previous Letter to the Editor--Rabbi Kleinberg's articles on the weekly Torah portion are rife with conceptions of G-d alien to Judaism.

In my opinion, he has thereby rendered himself unfit to certify the kosher status of a mikvah. And in my opinion, it is horrible that he will anyway "certify" the mikvah, because it will lead people to think it has an authentic Orthodox imprimatur.

Rabbi Eliyahu W. Ferrell
Instructor of Talmud and Jewish Law
Passaic Torah Institute
Passaic, NJ

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