Latest update: February 1st, 2013
Twelve years of planning and nudging have finally given Tokyo’s Jewish population its first mikveh.
Chabad reported that Jewish women in Tokyo previously had to travel 325 miles to the nearest mikveh, in the city of Kobe.
Rabbi Mendi Sudakevich and his wife Chana have been working on the project for years, and an Israeli resident of Kobe, Yair Levy, helped fund the mikveh’s construction.
The ritual immersion poll was opened last week, in the presence of the Israeli ambassador to Japan, and was named Mikveh Mordechai, in memory of Yair’s father.
Levy, who owns cosmetics and jewelry stores in Japan, told Chabad that before he started on a new business venture, “I wanted to start with the soul, with a mitzvah. I know the weight of the mitzvah of mikveh. I just wanted everybody to be able to do this mitzvah.”
One big obstacle to building the mikveh was the fact that Japanese construction companies turned down the work because they had no experience in building such a facility.
At the dedication ceremony, Rabbi Sudakevich said that when his grandfather lived in Russia, he was arrested for the first time for building a mikveh.
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