Well, well … Chabad of Solon builds mikvah

Senior Staff Reporter, Cleveland Jewish News
Posted: Thursday, March 22, 2012 3:04 pm

The little, yellow storybook house at 29800 Cannon Road blends in nicely with the Solon residences it neighbors. But the house is not a home.

The building is Chabad of Solon’s Ruthy Wolfson Mikvah. After three years of planning, fundraising and design, the spa-like $500,000 mikvah (ritual bath) was ready for women to receive ritual immersions last November.

“We owned the land for a while but could not afford to build the mikvah until Ruthy came to us and told us she wanted to donate the money to build a mikvah in honor of her late mother Tova Gruen span, a Holocaust survivor,” said Chabad of Solon Rabbi Zushe Greenberg.

With Wolfson’s financial backing, plus funds from other lead donors, local architect Justin Kapela drew up plans for the 1,500-sq.-ft. mikvah. Mikvah expert Rabbi Gershon Grossbaum of Minneapolis was hired to oversee the strict religious guidelines required when constructing the bath.

“Rabbi Grossbaum was amazing,” said Greenberg. “He directed the workmen where to put the pipes and climbed all over the structure to make sure every inch of the ritual bath, from top to bottom, precisely followed halachah (Jewish law).”

Along with ensuring religious laws were met, Greenberg worked closely with Solon Mayor Susan Drucker and her administration to guarantee the mikvah met all city regulations and zoning laws. “Solon City Hall has always been supportive of our projects, and we follow all instructions and orders they give us,” said Greenberg. “We have a very good working relationship.”

A mikvah attendant in a sitting room welcomes women entering the mikvah. Behind two doors off the sitting room are bathrooms that include a shower, Jacuzzi and towels to provide the meticulous cleansing needed in preparation to entering the sun-drenched, blue-tiled mikvah. “We wanted to make the entire experience a beautiful, restful one,” said Miriam Greenberg, the rabbi’s wife and a leader of Solon Chabad.

The Wolfson mikvah is targeted to attract brides and young, non-Orthodox women – not necessarily Chabad of Solon members – who have no history or experience with a mikvah. They are encouraged to use the facility as little as one time or as often as once a month for taharat ha’mishpachah (family purity), the process of ritual immersion to renew a woman after her monthly cycle.

“We want to show these women the beauty of the mikvah and allow them to fulfill the mitzvah of mikvah,” said Greenberg. “By entering the mikvah, brides or married women can bring God’s blessing into their lives, family and marriage. Immersion brings a higher level of spirituality.”

Since the Wolfson Mikvah has opened, Greenberg has been giving regular tours of the building. “The women are impressed with how beautiful the building is, and it dispels any misconceptions they might have had about a mikvah,” she said.

Wolfson, who purchased a mezuzah for the mikvah’s front door on a recent trip to Jerusalem, is thrilled with the building. “Ever since the rabbi told us that every shul needs a mikvah, I felt this burning desire to help build a mikvah,” she said. “I feel very privileged and humbled that I could help make this mikvah a reality and also honor my mother’s memory.”


To schedule a tour of Chabad of Solon’s Ruthy Wolfson Mikvah or to make an appointment for an immersion, contact Miriam Greenberg at 440-498-9533.