Sunday, September 7, 2008

Beach Cities, CA - New Chabad Mikvah In Beach Cities Completed

Beach Cities, CA -- The newly completed Mikvah at Chabad of the Beach Cities could easily pass for a spa at first glance. Visitors enter at the side of the building on Vail Avenue in Redondo Beach, where a wide staircase lined with flowers and plants provides a private entrance to an 1,100-square-foot former basement. Inside, women will be greeted with the sound of trickling water and smell of lavender potpourri. The walls are painted deep beige and aqua, adorned only with carved mirrors and flowery accents meant to calm and relax. R' Yossi Mintz, the Rav of the Chabad shul in the Beach Cities and his wife oversaw the construction of the building, as well as the interior design. "We wanted to it be very feminine," said Sara Mintz. According to her, despite the Mikvah's spa-like feel, it is a place of intense privacy.

There are only about two dozen Mikvaos in Southern California. The only other one in the South Bay is at Chabad of the South Bay on Narbonne Avenue in Lomita. For that reason, leaders at the Redondo Beach Chabad wanted to make this one special. They brought in world-class designers and spent nearly two years to plan and construct it.

"This started as a $180,000 project, but once we got started we just couldn't stop," said R’ Mintz. "We didn't want to cut any corners." It wound up costing more than $350,000, including $50,000 just for the hundreds of glass tile pieces that line the inside of the Mikvah and accent the walls.

A specially designed glass fixture with pressed flowers on the inside cost another $5,000, and leaders opted for an expensive ozone-purification system to keep the water clean. And because the Mikvah is located in drought-prone Southern California, members of the shul drove to the mountains last winter and collected 300 bags of snow to fill the reservoir.

The bathhouse also includes three showering and preparation rooms with mirrors, cushy chairs, scented soaps and fluffy towels. Each woman who visits will be lent a robe. Chabad leaders in the area hope this will be a place women look forward to visiting. "This is the one place where there are no cell phones, no distractions," Sara Mintz said. "It's just you and God, a time to reconnect."

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