Time-Sensitive Call To Action
We ask all our readers to reach out to Mikvah USA now. They are currently running a fundraiser which will end at 10pm Eastern Time (Wednesday, September 16). Respectfully ask them to address the issues which we raise in this article. Thank you! They can be reached at:
Over the course of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis we have seen a fundamental shift in how our world operates. We have seen the shutdown of businesses, suppression of people’s ability to gather, congregate, and assemble, and to pray, or attend shul or Yeshiva. We have seen many mandates being imposed on society such as mask-wearing, physical distancing, and the like.
While many feel that these measures are within the proper means of governments’ responsibility to protect their citizens from disease, millions of citizens around the world have stood up in protest to what they believe is an egregious and draconian grab of power, with no constitutional legality to it, and little to no science to support it.
Take for example, this short clip https://www.emes.news/news/millions-peacefully-protest-covid-restrictions/
showing numerous protests around the world. These protests barely make it to the mainstream media, clearly being censored in an effort to marginalize those who question the formal narrative that implementing drastic measures is the only responsible method we all need to take to stop the COVID-19 crisis, effectively making those who question that narrative appear as being very few, and very extreme.
In reality, though, these people do not have a lackadaisical or cavalier attitude towards health, but rather disagree as to what health responsibilities entail. And they disagree as to who in society has credibility over these issues.
Invariably, health is a serious responsibility that we all have to ourselves, both as a halachic precept, as well as on a basic, moral level, as an axiomatic need for self-preservation.
Notwithstanding, differences of opinion exist as to what keeping oneself healthy entails. This should come as no surprise, considering the fact that we, as the human species have disagreed on a multitude of issues, both scientific and otherwise, for eternity.
Take for example, these links (which are just a few of many) which show top scientists and medical experts around the world who question the official narrative systemically.
The reason why we are contacting you today is twofold.
Firstly, throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Jewish women around the world have been faced with considerable challenges. There were those communities which made the process of using the mikvah during this time very arduous and limiting. There were many who were encouraged not to visit the mikvah at all, based on numerous conditions. Others were told to considerably curtail the performance of this mitzvah in one fashion or another.
This is shocking in its own right, since there is a systemic debate amongst medical experts as to how the COVID-19 crisis should be handled. Healthcare is individualized. What is gold to one individual may be poison to another. And vice versa. The notion that a woman would be forced to accept a communal norm, against her own best interests or needs, particularly after having worked out her concerns with her own health care practitioner is alarming, to say the least.
But it gets much worse.
There have been communities which banned women from using a Mikvah in the event that their husbands davened with a minyan during the COVID crisis.
This is shocking beyond belief and is a horrendous sin of epic proportion. This approach is a blatant violation of halacha for the following reasons:
1-There were and are many Rabbonim who NEVER approved of the minyan ban at all. Included in this group are Rav Reuvein Feinstein (who personally attended a backyard minyan every day of the lockdown), Rav Yisroel Reisman of Flatbush, Rav Malkiel Kotler, Rav Elizezer Ginsburg, Rav Yosef Rabinowitz (Rav at Ave. J and E. 29th in Flatbush), Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel (who said that had we had more minyanim there would have been fewer deaths), Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky, and many, many more, in the US as well as in Eretz Yisroel. The notion that we need to violate women whose husbands are following their Rabbonim is a systemic and evil violation of the Torah.
2-Moreover, it was clear that in many instances, these bans were not due to the touted reason that the mikvah attendants would be afraid of being there were these restrictions not in place. Rather, circumstances and context indicate that these were punitive measures put in place to punish and intimidate those who dared violate the “orders” of self-appointed “medical” or “Rabbinic” “authorities”.
When contacting individual mikvahs regarding related policies, we were told that they were not acting in isolation, but rather, that this was a collaborative effort on the part of numerous mikvah related organizations that have put this policy in place. (See these two links from your own website, for example: https://www.mikvahusa.org/files/Dear-Mikvah-Staff.pdf and https://www.mikvahusa.org/files/Mikvah-USA-Coronavirus-Warning-Users.pdf)
Truthfully, this trend had started last year when Yeshivos and shuls have adopted a draconian policy of expelling all unvaccinated kids and adults from their institutions. As Rav Chaim Kanievsky has written, as well as Rav Shmuel Kamanetsky, no child should ever be expelled from a school due to unvaccinated status. (See www.gedolimletters.org for details.)
Women last year found themselves in a similar situation wherein those with unvaccinated children at home at times were banned from using the Mikvah.
This approach and its adoption is nothing short of evil and wicked.
While many doctors have strongly promoted vaccination as an effective public health means of preventing dangerous diseases, there have been hundreds and thousands of doctors who have disagreed.
It is beyond the scope of this work to prove which side is correct, or even to identify the parties or issues involved in this multi-faceted and layered issue.
But one thing is clear. The side which questions vaccines believe that there is systemic fraud involved in the medical establishment as a whole. It is this same healthy skepticism which many share which leads them to question mask-wearing or other core components of the broader COVID-19 response plan.
The side that does follow the mainstream narrative clearly believes that there is no fraud involved, or at least not in any systematic way.
So to recap, one side believes that the medical establishment is not what it used to be decades ago, but is currently a victim of systemic fraud. The other side believes that there is no fraud.
With this key understanding of the point underlying the crux of the issue, it becomes apparent that “we trust the doctors” is an irrelevant argument. “We trust the system”, “We trust the medical experts”, “We trust the government” are all irrelevant arguments. Trust is precisely at the root of the issue. To argue that we should use “trust” when trust is the very issue being questioned is nothing short of circular logic.
We understand that you are currently running a campaign at https://www.rayze.it/mikvahusa/, to raise one million dollars.
Here is our million dollar question to you:
What will you do both now, during the COVID-19 crisis, as well as in the future to ensure and enforce the notion that ALL women have the right and ability to use mikvaos even if their view on health differs from the conventional narrative? What will you do to ensure that mikvah use does not become a tool to enforce a public health policy, or public policy of any kind whatsoever? This is the crucial question of the moment. We ask this question of your organization as well of all potential donors.
To reiterate, please do not respond by saying that you have spoken to your medical experts and they have instructed you to facilitate that mikvaos only be run in a particular matter.
We know that. We know that you have spoken to your experts. That was never the question. The question isw how can we ensure that you will allow ANY woman to attend the mikvah, EVEN if her medical view deviates from yours, and that a global, one-size fits all medical approach will not be imposed on women (and their husbands) who are keeping this sacred and required mitzvah?
Furthermore, please do not reply by stating that the overwhelming consensus of medical experts agree with the formal narrative whether it be for vaccines, the COVID response, or otherwise. We know that too. And that wasn’t the question either. The question is, how can we adopt a medical plurality, whereby ALL Jewish woman can feel comfortable and accommodated for, independent of whether they agree with the official narrative which refuses to investigate into the fraud of the medical establishment or whether they are of those who have spent many hours doing so or have seen the fraud firsthand?
One final thought: As alluded to above, there are those women who are afraid to use a mikvah themselves, or to work in the capacity of an attendant if other women who don’t follow the official and strict guidelines were to be attending the mikvah.
This fear or concern is valid. Their rights need to be attended to equally. Granted that there is a fundamental debate in society as to how to deal with health issue in general, (and this debate is part of a broader, secular issue, not pertaining to the Jewish community per se), and one side strongly feels one way, and another side strongly feels a different way, how can we work together as a tzibbur to help address the needs of both sides, without superimposing the views of either party on the other?
A number of solutions come to mind. One would be to have separate mikvaos for different groups of women. Another solution may be to have different attendants in different situations, depending on the context. These two solutions are part of a broader path to help deal with this issue. But the bigger question is, are we dealing with this problem at all? Or are we simply attempting to bulldoze over one segment of klal yisroel which consists of tens of thousands of responsible shomrei torah u’miztvos. (See shiur from Rav Brog for further information on this topic https://www.emes.news/torah/transcript-of-rav-eliyahu-brogs-shiur-covid-crisis-is-middah-kineged-middah-of-how-we-persecuted-our-unvaccinated-brethren/ )
Remember, it is beyond the scope of this work to preside over the medical issues, and it is beyond your own jurisdiction to do so as well.
How can we make this a reality together?
Thank you, and may we all be zoche to yeshuos from the COVID-19 crisis and all tzaros, and be inscribed with a kesivah vachasima tovah, culminating in the coming of Moshiach, speedily in our time.