During 5 days in Ukraine, the renowned mikvah supervisor, Rabbi Yehuda Leib Mintzberg, managed to inspect and repair 13 mikvahs in various cities, while he travelled over 2,000 kilometers during these days.
The Rabbinical Centre of Europe supported and financed his entire stay. The Rabbi administered service during the late hours of the night and early hours of the morning due to the crowded schedule and the many destinations. Only during travel was the Rabbi able to get some shut eye.
As soon as he arrived in the Ukraine, the journey began in Chernigov. Rabbi Yisroel Silberstein, together with Jewish community leaders are building a Kosher Mikvah, but the process became complicated due to various requirements imposed on them by the local council. Rabbi Silberstein attained a long meeting with the local engineers and explained to them at length how to proceed with the construction so that it would be completed quickly and the mikveh could be operated. “I arranged the plans for them and explained how to finish the water pits by getting the rainwater off the roof. Only when they had everything clear to the last detail did they approve the plans, and I was able to go out and move on to the next destination.”
The next destination for Rabbi Mintzberg was Zhitomir, to examine the local mikveh. The Rabbi of the city and Western Ukraine, Rabbi Shlomo Wilhelm, established a bustling Jewish center that included an impressive and elegant Mikvah erected with the assistance of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe.
Even though the trip took many hours of travel, all was well worth to have guided and assisted local rabbis in replacement of the rainwater ravines. He took advantage of his stay in the city to emphasize and explain practical Halachot to the rabbis concerning many issues. The rainwater reservoir was emptied and refilled from an existing reservoir. “I left them a list of detailed instructions and suggestions for solving various problems. ”
The news of Rabbi Mintzberg’s arrival in towns spread like wildfire. He received a request from a community in Berdichev to come and examine their Mikvah where there were issues to be solved. He left at dawn. “We spent an entire hour on winding roads to get there,” described Rabbi Mintzberg. Thanks to the Almighty we provided answers and the long time spent there did not prevent us from continuing with the original travel plan, which included a trip to Cherkasy which is a 5-hour drive away.”
The Mikvah in Cherkasy was built 12 years ago by Rabbi Dov Axelrod, Rabbi of the city. As soon as we arrived, we saw the need for various improvements. We had Siyata Dishmaya. Things that usually took extensive time worked out in a short time. Issues that usually needed to be explained in detail were clarified quickly, allowing us to continue the journey without unnecessary delays.
The next destination was the city of Uman, which was a 4-hour drive. We arrived at the place at a very late hour but the Jewish residents who had been waiting for us for a long time insisted that as soon as we ate something we would go and see the glorious local mikveh. After I checked what they needed, we hurried to the next destination. ”
The town of Entebbe near Kiev was the next destination. Much work awaited Rabbi Mintzberg as he devoted the entire day there. He dedicated many hours repairing and renovating the mikveh. He then traveled to Kiev where he was hosted at the home of Rabbi Moshe Reuven Asman Rabbi of Kiev and toured with him to the local mikveh. Early next morning, they made their way to two local mikvahs in the city center that are in their final stages of construction. The tour ended at another mikvah under construction. A creative solution was needed for the rainwater reservoir built on the site.
“When I returned to Israel”. Rabbi Mintzberg said, “I was shocked at the itinerary the “Rabbinical Centre of Europe” planned for me. It was obvious that I had tremendous Siyata Didhmaya.
The Director General of the RCE, Rabbi Arie Goldberg, pointed out that “Since these countries did not have supervision and guidance as in Eretz Israel, as every city has a religious council, etc. it is necessary to send a supervisor from time to time to inspect and assist the local rabbis in maintaining the local mikveh.”
Rabbis thanked the Deputy Director General Rabbi Yosef Bainhaker on the valuable initiative.
Director General of the RCE, Rabbi Arie Goldberg thanked Rabbi Mintzberg for all his efforts and stated that “Since these countries have no supervision and guidance, such as the religious councils that send supervisors to maintain mikvahs in every city in Israel, therefore it is necessary to send from time to time a supervisor who will assist the local rabbis in inspecting their mikvah.”
Chairman of the RCE Rabbi Menachem Margolin, said: “This project is part of the ‘Rabbinical Centre of Europe’s flagship which has so far assisted in the construction of 77 mikvahs throughout Europe”.