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Jul 13, 2015

Sunny Isles project includes mikvah

Rabbi Yisrael Baron is excited a mikvah is finally coming to Sunny Isles Beach. (Submitted photo)
Rabbi Yisrael Baron is excited a mikvah is finally coming to Sunny Isles Beach. (Submitted photo)

A mikvah is expected to finally arrive in Sunny Isles Beach in a few years.

Verzasca Group, a South Florida based real estate development firm, is planning to build a mikvah, a bath used for the purpose of ritual immersion, for both men and women in their Sunny Isles Beach building, The Aurora, expected to be completed sometime in late 2017 or early 2018. While there are many synagogues in Sunny Isles Beach, there is no mikvah whatsoever presently in the area.

Tim Lobanov, managing director of Verzasca Group, discussed why they decided to put in the mikvah.

"We first met Rabbi Yisrael Baron [of Chabad Lubavitch of Sunny Isles Beach] earlier this year when we were doing our neighbor outreach and he told us about the community and the people represented and he mentioned the mikvah and that it was something that they didn't have," Lobanov said. "After learning about it, we felt it would be a great idea to contribute to the community and build it for him and most importantly the people in Sunny isles Beach."

According to Baron, Orthodox Jewish men and women until now have been going to neighboring cities which are overcrowded and not convenient. On Shabbos and holidays when they can't drive there is no option but to delay going to the mikvah which is a big problem for them. When he met with the developers from the group, Baron noted that they made it clear to him that they wanted to be very community-oriented and wanted their building to be an asset to Sunny Isles Beach.

"Something that immediately came to mind was the mikvah and I felt the Jewish community in Sunny Isles Beach was missing a vital component in its existence, so here I am a rabbi explaining the importance of a mikvah to three gentiles and I asked them if there would be a mikvah in this building, but with a separate private entrance to make sure the privacy we needed is there? I said it would be a chance for them to make history by providing a mikvah to the community of Sunny isles Beach and that's the way I saw it," Baron noted.

The mikvah will be situated on the west side of the building, away from the lobby and commercial space in order to give its required privacy. It will also have its own separate entrance outside of the building's other facilities and will contain six preparation rooms with one mikvah on the women's side and one totally separate mikvah and dressing room for the men. Each side will have its own entrance.

Baron mentioned that people who are new to the community and are visitors to Sunny Isles Beach would call him and inquire about a mikvah.

"Unfortunately I have to disappointment them and they're surprised to find out that although there are synagogues in Sunny Isles Beach, there is no mikvah," he added.

Once the project is done, Baron said, "We will be considered a complete community. A community is not complete without a mikvah. It's a vital component in the Jewish community."