Extreme Mikveh Makeover
It seems as if the mikvaot in Jerusalem have been getting quite a makeover. First security cameras were installed, and now they have turnstiles which accept credit cards which limits pilfering by mikveh ladies and poor accounting practices. Some mikvaot have reported increased revunues of twenty percent. A number of complaints about the new turnstiles have come from women who come with children in strollers and are having difficulty going through the turnstile with the stroller, and woman who are in a wheelchair or who have difficulty going through the turnstile. Regarding children at the mikveh, the response has been that mikveh ladies aren’t babysitters.
Bringing a child to the mikveh seems to reflect the Israeli custom of taking little children everywhere you go, even at ridiculous hours of the night. You have a wedding to go to, so what if it is 10:00 p.m., let’s bring the baby. Ma’aseh She Hayah, you have a party to help someone celebrate a milestone in their life, bring your kid even though they don’t know the person at all because you probably don’t get to spend enough time with them because you are a workaholic. I am all for spending quality time with your kids, you should have seen me freezing to death at 1:00 a.m. this Sunday morning on a Boy Scout campout, but I think that some parents don’t understand that when you have children, especially very young children, you just can’t do everything that you would like to. Numerous times my wife or I went by ourselves to a simcha or other event because it wasn’t appropriate to bring a child. Not that I know any of the details, but in the case of bringing a young child to the mikveh, shouldn’t the husband be happy to look after the kids? If not, it seems like there are bigger problems than the size of the turnstile.
The answer of the Jerusalem Religious Council about handicapped accessibility is more problematic. They said that there is a special mikveh which has a lift in the mikveh itself and there is no gate. I can imagine that there are women who don’t need a lift to enter the mikveh but would have trouble going through a revolving gate. Hopefully an appropriate solution will be found that will be reflective of both good management and sensitivity to people with special needs.