Six rabbis gathered July 2 to inspect the water collection system that will feed the new mikvah on South Green Road in University Heights.
The rain collection system, which opened that day, will take 8 to 12 inches of rain to fill the collection vessel in order to open the mikvah for women, Rabbi Avrohom Adler, vice president of the Cleveland Community Mikvah predicted. The mikvah should be open in two to three months.
“It’s a lot of rain,” Adler told fellow rabbis. “In Cleveland, you get 40 inches a year so it could take a few months.”
Rabbis inspecting the new mikvah had questions and comments about the efficacy of the design of the system and about considerations of halachah, or Jewish law.
“You’re going to lose water,” said Rabbi Boruch Hirshfeld, rosh kollel at Torah Life in Cleveland Heights, explaining that other mikvahs have collection systems at the center of the roof rather than from the exterior, as this one is designed.
Adler acknowledged some rainwater will be lost.
The rabbis gathered in the lobby of the building, then looked at the room where the water will be collected and portioned into kissing and seeding pools that feed the two immersion pools. They went outdoors to see the exterior system that will catch rainwater from the roof. They also viewed and inspected both immersion pools from the floor up and toured the preparation rooms and waiting area.
With 14 preparation rooms, including a handicap accessible room and a suite for a bride and her mother, the 6,100-square-foot building at 2588 S. Green Road is now furnished and has landscaping.
“We are now ready to begin collecting rain,” Adler said. “We want to make sure ultimately that we’re able to collect the water in a halachically valid manner. So you know, it was one step after another to make sure the roof is properly sloped, to make there are no interpositions on the top of the roof, to make sure that the gutters are completely kosher to be able to accept the rainwater and not be a receptacle and not, again, have any metal interpositions in the pathway of the gutter. And then to make sure that all the mikvah baths are complete, are leak proof and are able to accept, and therefore ultimately collect, the rainwater.”
The finishing touches are being placed on the building, as workers caulk windows in the lobby.
The mikvah cost $4 million to build and has taken two years to finish.
Plans began in 2015. The Mendy & Ita Klein Cleveland Community Mikvah honors the late Mendy Klein, who spearheaded the effort to build the new mikvah. His children and their spouses provided the approximately $1 million naming gift.
With less than $100,000 left to raise, the project is in the final throes of its capital and its first-year operating campaign. To bolster the coffers, a $1 million loan was used.
Designed by architects Erica Drogan Hillow and project designer Sarah Schwarz at Cleveland-based Vocon, the mikvah was designed by and will be exclusively for women. The lead contractor was Millstone Management Group in Chester Township.
Adler wrote a poem to mark the occasion of the opening of the rainwater collection system. He called it, “Praying for Rain.”