South Korea gets its first mikva
Rabbi Osher Litzman and close ones stand beside the new $850,000 mikvah in South Korea, 2019.
(photo credit: CHABAD OF SOUTH KOREA)
Chabad hassidim in Seoul dedicated South Korea’s first mikva on Sunday.
Rabbi Osher Litzman told The Jerusalem Post that more than 150 people attended the ceremony celebrating the ritual bath, which Chabad has been constructing for a year.
“We built it in a way that every Jewish woman in Korea would want to use it,” Litzman said of the 35 sq. m. facility that cost $850,000.
Centrally located near the Chabad House in the heart of Seoul, near the Grand Hyatt Seoul, the mikva is covered with 25,000 mosaic tiles and shaped like a water drop “to represent the idea of the pure water of the mikva, which a ritual bath has to contain as opposed to a regular pool,” he said. The ceiling is a dome, also made in the shape of a water droplet. The rabbi said the ceiling was 3D printed and painted to look like the sky with stars and the moon.
The walls are decorated with a traditional Korean lattice wood pattern.
“We invested a lot in its beauty,” Litzman said. The Lubavitcher rebbe had a lot of passion about making mikvas the most beautiful possible with no compromises whatsoever, and this is what we had in mind. We hope that whoever uses the mikva will have a great feeling and love to come back, and that those who are interested in the mikva will be intrigued to come and use it.”
The South Korean Jewish community is small, Litzman said, and he does not have high expectations regarding the number of women who will use it initially. The community is slowly growing, mostly with foreigners, he said.
At the moment, “We have families from Mobileye, Samsung, diplomats with the US Embassy and Israeli Embassy, some professors and students, and a handful of CEOs from different companies that relocated to Korea,” Litzman said.
Most Jews in Korea are not Orthodox because it is not an easy environment for religious people, he said, but “We are counting on making them more observant and the mikva is a major part of it… Everyone should look at our mikva and find a way to make a mikva in their community that is beautiful, as well, so we can bring more purity into the world.”