By Deb Silverthorn
Celebrating nine months from project kickoff to ribbon-cutting, Dallas’ Mikvah Israel is once again in service providing a holy place for community members to participate in the mitzvah of family purity. On Sunday, May 7, hundreds gathered at the McShann Drive location of Mikvah Israel, where it has been for more than 25 years, with blessings to honor the beautified, renovated facility.
“Indeed, it’s been klal Yisrael [the Jewish people] coming together to raise awareness, money and education of the mikvah to bring us to this time,” said Rabbi Yerachmiel Fried, dean of Dallas Area Torah Association and rabbi of Mikvah Israel. “It’s a beautiful thing to see such diversity in those who have and who are supporting the project in every way.
“We’ve taken the traditions of all those in our community, Sephardi, Ashkenazi and of every branch of Jewry, which has grown so much over the last three decades, and expanded and refined the mikvah,” said Fried. “It is now [ready] to be accepted by anyone who would want to participate, and I would encourage every woman, regardless of observance or affiliation, to at least once experience the mitzvah of mikvah.”
Among the guests and participants in Mikvah Israel Dallas’ ribbon-cutting ceremony was Rabbi Yitzchok Bistritzky, executive director of Mikvah USA, which has partnered with local organizers in the renovation. Mikvah USA’s mission, for every Jew in North America to find it easy and appealing to adhere to the highest level of taharah (purity), has helped 107 communities build or rebuild a mikvah with more than 50 now in progress.
“We were honored to provide financial, technical and halachic support for what has turned out to be, without exaggeration, the nicest mikvah we have participated in,” said Bistritzky. “The warm and wonderful community, which is blessed to have Rabbi Fried as a leader, has a gift now for generations to appreciate and through which to enjoy sharing in many mitzvahs. It’s really very special to be here.”
Enhancements to Mikvah Israel included cosmetic changes throughout as well as structural and mechanical improvements. New air conditioning units, water heaters and a dehumidifier were installed along with updates to the mikvah’s electrical and plumbing systems.
The actual date for women to be able to use the mikvah is to be determined as, per Jewish law, there is an amount of rainwater, 200 gallons, that must drain through the city water to make the mikvah holy. Because of Dallas’ drier months of late, the containers to hold that water are yet to be filled and so mikvah services continue temporarily at Congregation Ohr HaTorah.
“We knew we had a huge project ahead of us but not at all the extent of some of the issues. What we didn’t know, those on the ground and those at Mikvah USA came together to resolve,” said Mikvah Israel renovation committee member Caryn Peiser. “There was so much even outside the scope of the original renovation but we came together, we stayed within the budget and now we have a solid building that will last decades.”
For Brett Diamond, who has led the fundraising campaign for the renovation of the mikvah, pride in community is an understatement.
“A year ago, we had a vision and today this showcase for our community is a reality,” said Diamond, who credits his wife, Roxy, with inspiring his interest in supporting the project. “It’s been a season of high-fives and learning, tears and laughter. We’re here and it’s a home run.
“The work has just begun because there are now, with this beautiful place, so many opportunities to teach and to grow the numbers who participate,” said Diamond.
The renovation project expanded the borders of the community as its lead designer, Gitty Goldschmidt, has made ZIP code 75230 her second home. Goldschmidt, who lives in New York with her husband, Ricardo, has supervised every step of the design, planning and construction in-person.
“I prayed for shalom, for peace, among our team and for simcha [joy] in doing Hashem’s work and He answered my prayers with an absolutely beautiful, comprehensive and really magnificent renovation, truly done in shalom. I’ve enjoyed the chance to be with my son and family and I’ve made dear friends for life in my time here — people who have invited me into their homes left and right,” said Goldschmidt.
Goldschmidt has stayed at the Cooper Clinic since last August, returning to the East Coast only for her mother-in-law’s funeral and shiva and the High Holidays. She is the mother of Torah Day School of Dallas teacher Rabbi Kevin Goldschmidt.
Phase two of Mikvah Israel’s renovation, when it is in working order, is to perform repairs to and enhance the keilim mikvah located on the property’s exterior. The keilim mikvah, an additional pool, is where dishes and utensils to be used in kosher kitchens can be ritually immersed, thus acquiring an additional measure of holiness.
“We’ve met with Dallas Kosher for their expertise in making the keilim mikvah user-friendly for individuals and professionals and taking all into consideration,” said Cindy Winston, president of Mikvah Israel. “As we embark on fundraising and the renovation, we look forward to — within the scope of our budget — bringing it to a new level, a new standard.
“I’m honored to serve Mikvah Israel through this and look forward to the education, the participation in the mitzvah and everything it will mean to our community. From beginning to end, the renovation has been an incredible example and groundswell of am Yisroel chai [the Jewish people live],” said Winston.
For more information, to arrange a tour, schedule learning or make a donation, visit
MikvahIsraelDallas.org, call 972-776-0037 or email