24 July 2006


Making the richest congregation in SA Cry

After reading this post by Elisson,
I lapsed into a heavy memory downdraft.
During this period I could not bring myself to leave a comment there.
I lied when I told Erica in this post that I have met at max about 10 yew's in my life.
She said in comments "Eerily strange" for another reason, but it can apply here.
I must have been told by some super force not to remember, that is my excuse and I am sticking to it.

And then to jolt my brain, I did some googling.


In recent years the mikvah - the bath for ritual immersion - has moved to the foreground of Jewish feminist discussions, especially since conservative and reform synagogues have begun to build their own mikvaot.

As growing numbers of non-Orthodox Jews flock to the mikveh — a trend that has spread over the last decade — an inevitable clash between the traditional and the modern is beginning to emerge, with progressive Jews seeking to recast an ancient ritual in their own image.

These days it is listed as this Chabad Strathavon, Sandown Ext.9 Rabbi A Shishler

Dipping Into Tradition
The Mikvah Makes a Comeback
www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/4849/edition_id/89/format/html/displaystory.html offers women a chance to `take back the waters'

My linking still sucks.

The story.

History to the story.
The Sandton Synagogue and it's then Rabbi and congregation came under pressure to have a certain facility for women.

Being the shrewd businessmen they normally are, they appointed a member of the congregation to build this facility on a scratch budget.

I don't know who he was, but he was an ignoramus in concrete and building works.

The Rabbi's daughter was swimming in some minor league.
I have just leak proofed an olympic size swimming pool, before she swam in a competition, at that pool.
He got my number from a sign that was left at the pool.

He called.
I visited and heard the following.
The Mikveh is all wrong.
All the 'vessels' leak.
The building is not safe.
Natural water, rain, must not be held back until it goes into the 'baths'.
All materials must be related to 'earth'.

Now this is a job that call's for epoxy and fiberglass, which I used in the sealing of the pool.

The Rabbi told me that those materials were not acceptable.

This 3 storey building had to resemble a mud pool with modern conveniences.
He let it slip that they have had quotes to demolish the building and rebuild it.

I started doing some research and gathered the following details.
The building must have cost them about USD 100,000
To demolish and to remove would be about USD 15,000
To rebuild under the present scare about 210,000
A total of USD 235,000 is what they had to lay out over and above what they spent allready.
In terms of buying power in SA at that stage this would be USD 735,000 today.

During my research I attended the services fairly regularly and met the Rabbi often.
I also found a young engineer, recently fired for fraud, to assess the building and give me instructions as regards the safety aspect, cheaply and covered by his insurance.

I found a product that was used in deep level mining that could seal pressure leaks and was marginally organic.
The Rabbi sent the specs of this material to the USA.
The USA not Israel as he told me it would never pass muster in Israel.
Some Body in the USA passed this material as fit to be used on a Mikveh.

I found a partner for this venture and submitted a quote to the Rabbi.
By this time we have formed a strange friendship, the agnostic and the Rabbi.
He called the material "Nic's material" in all communications to the congregation.

My quote was not based on cost but on about 55% of the cost they could expect if they went the other route.

My quote was accepted.
Some of the leading ladies of the women’s committee escorted me into the service before the meeting and sat next to me during the meeting.

Afer the quote was accepted.
We sealed the baths and fixed the safety angle.

The Rabbi was of extreme use in interpreting some of the definitions of 'vessel' and proved to be truly in touch with the mystery of archaic and modern language.

When we were preparing to use 800 kg of milk to cleanse a borehole he confiscated the milk for the orphanage and gave us 2 kg of blessed skim milk to use.
A practical man.

I bought my first property from my share of the profit.

At the handover of our part of the project he said.

"Nic, you have made the richest group of jews in SA cry, I will miss you when you leave.

I last had contact with him about 10 years ago.
I have his email and will contact him again tonight.

And I can now leave a comment at Elisson.
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