The Park Synagogue
3300 Mayfield Road
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
The Charlotte Goldberg Community Mikvah
Planning for the Charlotte Goldberg Community Mikvah began in July, 1997 and it was complete and dedicated in May, 2000. This free-standing building is open to the entire Jewish community to use. It was built primarily because of the generosity of Charlotte Goldberg, a Park Synagogue member, who had a wonderful experience helping her future granddaughter celebrate at another mikvah before the bride's wedding day. Mrs. Goldberg came back from this trip wanting other young women and their families to have a similar experience. In addition to Mrs. Goldberg, several other Park Synagogue members contributed to the construction of the building. Some Rabbis in the Conservative and Reform Jewish community in Cleveland determined that there was a genuine need to have mikvah where immersions for those interested in converting could be held.
The origin of the mikvah goes back to thousands of years ago in Biblical times. The mikvah is referred to in the Bible as mayim chayim,
"living water". Living water means running or moving water, as opposed to stagnant water and is water that comes from a God-given source such as rain, snow, ice, spring water, or the ocean.
In Judaism, water is a symbol of life, for we can't live without it. Water is the source from which people begin, as a baby from the womb. The mikvah is a symbol of spiritual cleansing, transformation and renewal. Individuals come to the mikvah at times of change in their lives or to commemorate a special occasion. Traditionally, married Jewish women have come to the mikvah to observe the laws of family purity. Some men and women also come to the mikvah before the High Holidays, before Shabbat, or before other holidays. Others come at times of change from one life situation to another--such as before a wedding ceremony, before a bar or bat mitzvah, and at the time of conversion to Judaism. And some come at a special birthday, before or after a surgery, at the time of menopause, or after receiving a get. The mikvah represents change--from single person to married, from non-Jew to Jew, from unhealthy to healthy, from unkosher to kosher, etc. While there is heavy emphasis in Judaism on the community, coming to the mikvah is often a very private time, a time for an individual moment of reflection and spiritual cleansing.