Today is Tu B’Shevat – the beginning of the “new year” for trees. Today marks the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle.
There are few customs related to this holiday. One is to eat a new fruit on this day, or to eat from the “Seven Species” described in the Bible as being abundant in the land of Israel. These are: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.
Another custom is to plant a tree on this day, or to collect money to plant trees in Israel.
Did you know that the Merrick-Bellmore community has its own ritual bath, or Mikvah? It is called Mikvah Mei Leah, and is open to all Jewish women regardless of background, affiliation, level of observance, or personal religious viewpoint – all are welcome!
Going to the Mikvah is a spiritual rebirth – a time to refocus on life and start anew.
Mikvah Mei Leah houses a lovely waiting room and two magnificent spa-like preparation rooms, with all the amenities. Each preparation room is equipped with a multi-directional shower and bathtub, where you can relax amidst soft music and scented candles. Amenities available to help with your preparations include luxurious towels and robes, a complete personal kit of toiletries, and a brand new pair of slippers.
There is a state-of-the-art intercom system that allows you to communicate directly with the Mikvah attendant. After you notify her, the attendant will escort you directly to the Mikvah from a door in your preparation room.
The Mikvah is a pristine miniature pool of warm water that lies beneath a mosaic of gold flowers and petals. It is meticulously cleaned through a natural oxidation process. After you descend and immerse once in the warm Mikvah waters, you recite a blessing and then immerse again. This is an opportune moment to pray for yourself and for all your loved ones. Handouts with specific prayers are available upon request.
Mikvah Mei Leah is located at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life at 2174 Hewlett Avenue (at the corner Benson Lane) in Merrick. It has its own private entrance which can be found on the right, immediately upon entering the parking lot on Benson Lane.
The Mikvah is open by appointment only. To make an appointment, call (516) 208-1318 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.