There are Mikvahs across the world and, G-d willing, the Amazon will have a kosher one soon. The Mikvah challenge has been with the Raichman’s since they moved to Manaus, the Capital of the Amazon, in 2009.
The city is surrounded by the rainforest and rivers making the only real Mikvah option a flight to the state of Para. Driving there is impossible as there are no roads; and boat travel would take 5 days. It is a 2 hour flight and buying tickets so close to the travel date could cost as much as $700. Having to go to the Mikvah on Shabbat was another challenge that was never solved.
For years, Manaus never had a Mikvah, as the people claimed to use the Amazon River, the largest and longest river in the world. However, the challenges of going into the river that swarms with alligators, anacondas, and piranhas can be a daring feat for anyone. In addition, using a river can have halachic concerns. Since the water rises and decreases drastically there are times that much of the river is considered flowing rainwater; an issue for a Mikvah.
Until a few years ago, the concern was only for the Raichma’s and the tourists that visited. However, after a few weddings, couples moving in, and a growth in people’s upkeep of Mitzvot, the demand has grown to spread amongst the locals. One lady, Tatiana, prefers to travel to her hometown of S. Paulo. That is a four hour flight just one way. Rabbi Raichman’s worries, “What if someone cannot or does not want to fly. The responsibility for them is on our shoulders. We need to help them.”
Thus the Mikvah Capital Campaign was started to build a Mikvah that will serve everyone. A raffle is being made as a part of fundraising for the campaign. The prize is a vacation for 4 winners and one guest to experience the Amazon for 4 days. The winners will stay in the Hotel Jungle Palace, a five star floating hotel in the rainforest. The raffle is open to everyone in the United States, including Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon.com.
He was recently sent a letter to enter the raffle campaign, as well. He started the internet company and called it Amazon.com as ‘A’ was the first letter that appeared in Yahoo Web searches. Rabbi Raichman hopes, “Just like Mr. Bezos chose Amazon because it was the first, we hope you make this campaign a priority as well.”