As we know, in the olden days in Russia and elsewhere, there were a great many Jewish towns and villages with no mikveh. So what to do when it came to mikveh? In the winter, there was only one option: To break ice!
But of course, those days are long gone by. We live now in modern times, when there is a mikveh everywhere!
Well, almost everywhere, that is.
Turns out, there are still those scarce places around where Jews live, and there is no mikveh. So what to do instead? Dip in a pond or river. And… what if the pond or river is all icy, as it often is in the winter months? Well then, time to go back to the olden days!
Indeed that is how it’s still done out in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Despite the modest population of Jewish residents in this remote town, far from any major city, there are many Jewish tourists who pass through on their way to Yellowstone National Park. Many ask the local shluchim, Rabbi and Rebbitzin Mendelson if there is a mikveh.
Well, there is no mikveh yet – however, there is a special treat for those with a sense of adventure: To take a trip back in time to the olden days, and break the ice, and jump in!
Indeed, there is no other choice. That is what many have to do, in order to be able to dip.
But in recent months there has been very good news, as the Mendelsons have put together a very successful fundraising campaign: The Mikveh Match-a-Thon.
“During the summer, we can have as many as seventy people sitting around our Shabbos table,” reports Rabbi Mendelson. “And now that there are direct flights here from New York’s JFK airport, there are more and more people coming all the time, so the need for the mikvah is becoming more and more acute.”
Right before New Years, the Mendelson’s succeeded, Baruch Hashem, at raising all the funds they need for building the mikveh. $200,000, to be exact.
Soon there will be no more need to break ice in order to dip. Perhaps for ice fishing, but no more dipping! (Except for those who still may want to do it anyway, of course!)