A new Mikvah ritual bath opened in Omsk, Siberia on Thursday. This is the first Mikvah to function in the city in over 150 years and its construction was community-funded, with more than 1,000 local residents contributing to the success of the project.
“The fact that the entire community participated in the construction is just as important as the new mikvah itself,” said Osher Krichevsky, chief rabbi of Omsk.
The Jewish community in Omsk was first established in the 1820’s by Jewish exiles to Siberia and ex-servicemen of the Russian army. In 1854 the first synagogue was built, which is the same synagogue that houses the community today. Along with it a mikvah was surely built, rabbi Krichevsky said, but it was probably destroyed over the decades of war and even its remains have not been found. As such, the new mikvah, which took three years to complete, is functionally the first one for the city.
Alongside the opening, a cornerstone was placed to mark the beginning of the synagogue restoration project. The historic building is centuries old and needs to undergo restorations in order to continue serving the community.
“The joint effort in completing the mikvah, together with the beginning of synagogue reconstruction shows that Jewish revival in Omsk is going full-speed,” said rabbi Krichevsky. “Building is easy. Impacting people’s souls is much harder, but what we see here shows that our community is growing and developing.”