Nishmat won the public tender of the Israel Ministry of Religious Affairs to run training courses for mikveh attendants across the country. The purpose of this program is to provide a paradigm shift to existing attendants, most of whom are hareidi, sensitizing them to the needs of women using the mikveh. The mikveh is one of the most private and vulnerable spaces in Jewish life, and women come with all sorts of personal ‘baggage’ that the attendant must be sensitive to, such as OCD, fear of water, victims of abuse, be experiencing fertility issues, undergoing treatment for serious illness, and more.
Last week, Rabbanit Henkin met with the latest cohort of participants in Jerusalem to understand the challenges of their positions, and to highlight the mindset and needs of the average secular bride who is only coming to the mikveh as a requirement to get married in Israel by the rabbinate.
The session won rave reviews from participants who appreciated the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and interpersonal skills; many thanking Rabbanit Henkin personally and expressing a desire to continue the discussion and find better ways to bridge the religious-secular divide in this area.
Following the completion of the three “pilot” courses in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the Shomron in 2014, Nishmat will scale up the program nationally, providing 20 courses (educating approximately 500 attendants) in 2015.