Friday, / April 12, 2024
Home / news / Photos

It seemed an unlikely prospect that the women of the small suburban Jewish community of Merrick-Bellmore-Wantagh in Long Island (population 2,500) would one day have their own mikvah.

Yet last Sunday, 300 locals, including New York Senator John Brooks and Nassau County Legislator Steve Rhoads, turned out to cut the ribbon for a state-of-the-art facility on par with those in major Jewish communities.

Over an elegant celebratory dinner, community member and special education teacher Gayle Benno spoke of her own experience. “I am someone whose life has been touched and blessed by using the mikvah. I am so happy that now our community has its very own mikvah so that more women and families in our community can also observe this beautiful mitzvah.

Initial construction on the mikvah began in January 2015, but it wasn’t until a group of committed activists joined forces that construction was completed.

Rabbi Shimon Kramer, who directs the Chabad Center for Jewish Life of Merrick-Bellmore-Wantagh with his wife Chanie, says that local community members donated time, money, services, and supplies to ensure that the mikvah would function at the highest level: Cindy Knoll assisted with design, Marvin Greenberg of Michael’s Electrical Supply Corp. of Lynbrook donated the electrical supplies, and local community entrepreneurs Steven Gage and Stuart Siegel volunteered their time to supervise the project.

The community also received assistance from Mikvah USA, an organization that supports the establishment and rebuilding of mikvahs across America. “Without the help of Mikvah USA, this mikvah would not have been here yet, and certainly would not be as beautiful as it is,” says the rabbi.

“Mei Leah,” as the new mikvah is named, provides a first-class experience. “We interviewed many contractors,” Chanie Kramer admits, “but we ended up doing the contracting ourselves to ensure that everything was done to perfection.” With the help of Siegel and Gage, the mikvah is now ready for use.

Recently, Gage was sorting through old files when he came across the initial deposit slip for the mikvah, dated from 2006. “This mikvah has gone through a long and winding path,” he says, referring to the attempts made by the Merrick-Bellmore Mikvah Association over the years, “but it wasn’t until Rabbi Kramer stepped in that this project became a reality.”

This mikvah, he expects, “will be a unifying force for the community in Merrick.” 

Dedication opportunities are still available, and more information can be found at


Be the first to write a comment.


More Galleries
3,000 Teens Converge on Times Square In A Show of Jewish Pride
More than 3,000 Jewish teenagers representing the largest network of Jewish teens met up in New York City at the annual CTeen International Shabbaton on…
At the Farmer’s Market
Been to the Farmer’s Market lately?   The freshly-baked hand-braided breads—courtesy of your local Chabad center—are selling out fast.  From Setauket, N.Y. to Petaluma, California, from…
Zambia’s Chabad Rabbi Meets Presidents of Zambia, Israel
Zambia’s brand-new Chabad rabbi Mendy Hertzel recently met with the president of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema, at a dinner hosted in President Hichilema’s honor by Israel’s…
700th Chapter for Cteen in Estonia!
During the Havdalah Ceremony in Times Square, CTeen announced the launch of its 700th chapter, founded in Estonia under the directorship of Rabbi Michi and…
81st Annual Commemoration of Babi Yar Massacre in Kyiv
Today, on the 81st commemoration of the Babi Yar massacre, Chabad emissary and Kyiv Chief Rabbi Yonatan Markowitz lit candles and led the annual memorial…
97-Year-Old World War II Vet Gets Surprise Medal Ceremony at Chabad of San Antonio
Ninety-seven-year-old Gerald Teldon was in Chabad of San Antonio for his great grandson’s bar mitzvah when Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Stein surprised the World War II…
Rabbi Shalom Stambler Awarded for Work With Warsaw’s Jewish Community
Poland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Zbigniew Rau, awarded Chabad of Warsaw’s Rabbi Shalom Stambler an honorary badge, recognizing his 17 years of work advancing the…
Kosher Cuisine comes to Rwanda
Rabbi Chaim and Nechama Dina Bar Sela opened the first kosher restaurant in Kigali, Rwanda, bringing kosher Israeli cuisine to central African locals and travelers…
Find Your Local Chabad Center