Among the 30 recipients of JEWISHcolorado’s Projects of Impact and Need (PIN) grants for 2022 is the Mikvah of East Denver (MOED), whose decade-old vision of building a mikvah that is both orthodox and pluralistic is becoming a reality. Thought to be the only mikvah of its kind in the U.S., MOED is set to open by the end of the calendar year.
Construction to replace an older facility that needed significant repair began at the corner of Leyden Street and Alameda Avenue in 2020. The new facility is built with high quality, commercial, aquatic materials and is being constructed under the strict Jewish legal guidance of two mikvah consultants, one of whom represents the specifications required by the Chabad community. When completed, the new mikvah will have facilities and immersion pools for both men and women, in addition to an immersion pool for the koshering of glass and metal kitchenware. MOED is also creating organizational and operational protocols to serve the needs of every person who wants to connect through the transformative medium of water.
Organizers expect that the entire Jewish community will use the facility. Laura Abramson-Pritchard, president of MOED, said, “Our mission is to provide the community with a warm, welcoming space at a mikvah that is built and operated in accordance with Orthodox Jewish tradition and that serves the spiritual needs of Klal Yisrael, the whole of the Jewish people.”
Rabbi Emily Hyatt of Temple Emanuel, who has served on the operations committee, said she is looking forward to the facility opening. “As a Reform rabbi and vice-president of the Rocky Mountain Rabbis and Cantors association, I’ve been lucky enough to be deeply engaged in the work of building the mikvah. I’ve picked out tile, met with designers and helped ideate space needs for the liberal Jewish community, taught interdenominational classes, fundraised, preached, toured—and I’m waiting so eagerly for construction to finish.” She continued, “How lucky I am to be a part of this project and a community that lives their commitment to true partnership and pluralism.”
The $3 million project, with approximately $500,000 yet to be funded, will open when construction is complete, and the proper amount of rain fills the collection pools. In November, there will be a community-wide program called It’s Raining; congregational leadership will teach about the seasonal insertion of the Prayer for Rain that began after Sukkot and begins in earnest on December 5. In December, there will be a follow-up program called It’s Pouring, during which the community will have an opportunity to learn about the unique way the immersion and collection pools are constructed and poured. When the mikvah is opened, the plan is that user fees and memberships will support operations.
JEWISHcolorado recently made grants to 30 Jewish nonprofits and schools as part of the organization’s annual PIN Grants program. “In keeping with our mission of building community and creating connections among Jewish people, we applaud the vital work of all of our PIN Grant recipients,” said JEWISHcolorado President and CEO Rabbi Jay Strear. “Together with—and thanks to—our partners and donors, we’re addressing pressing needs in our community and, in doing so, we’re all helping to ensure the brightest possible future for the Jewish community in Colorado, in Israel, and around the world.”