Mikvah Survey

How much does your local mikvah charge you?

Have you ever tipped the balanit / mikvah lady? How much? (I never heard of tipping the balanit until I read something about it this week. Kinda shocked!)

Between 1 to 5 (1 being awful and 5 being great) rate your average mikvah experience.

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  1. We have a very unique, very holy mikvah. Look up the Santa Fe mikvah in the book ‘Total Immersion’.

    Women who use it are not charged. They donate what they will. Men have to first get permission of the owner; then they also donate what they will.

    This holy little mikvah, really just a kosher pool to immerse in, resides under an opaque ‘half of a greenhouse’ in the side yard of one of our town’s Jews. He lovingly maintains it for the mitzvah.

    In all of our travels and places we’ve lived, my wife says this crude, rustic little pool is the holiest mikvah she has been in.

  2. mekubal says:

    the most you can get charged for a regular visit in Israel is I think 40 shekel for women. Men it’s 50 per month.

  3. Kate says:

    Before I moved to Israel I paid $25 (when I was first married it was $18); mikvah was “full service” (didn’t have to bring anything, though I always prepped at home), never tipped. It was fine.

    Now I pay 20 shekel if I fully prep at home, and I have to bring my own towel and whatever else. The mikvah I go to is quite nice and recently built, but not fancy. What makes it special is the balaniot, who act as if I am lighting up their entire night by my presence, who shower me with brachot from when I step in the door until I leave.

  4. Ilana says:

    20 NIS if I prepare at home; 30 NIS if I don’t. It never occurred to me to tip. They provide the towel. Average experience — 3 .

  5. Lion of Zion says:

    my wife pays $18 for basic dunking
    i asked her about tipping after i read about it another blog, she said she never heard about it

    MORDECHAI:

    so he knows the coming and going of all the ladies on mikvah day?
    (in the 20s or 30s r. david miller published a yiddish pamphlet and a much larger mikvah, “secret of the jew,” about mikvah. it includes plans and instructions how to build a mikvah in the house

  6. ARI: No, not at all. First of all, since we came here we’ve not had more than three or so women using the mikvah, plus some travelers. There may have been more in the early years when this landmark was first built. This according to my wife. I suppose he might hear some goings on outside; but the mikvah is separate. Usually someone would call my wife to arrange a good time for both of them, and they go. Now that Chabad built a new mikvah in town (originally telling people there has never been one!), I fear the rustic, holy old mikvah will see even less use. Read the story of the Santa Fe mikvah in ‘ Total Immersion’. It is a legend.

  7. mrsmelissasg says:

    $20 or 25 depending which mikvah i go to (i have two options – the one which is more expensive is newer and typically much cleaner)
    i had never thought about tipping, but now that may become something i do. can you share where you read about it?
    i love mikvah most of the time. i’d say its typically a 4 for me. only b/c i have logistical travel hassles which dampen the experience.

  8. Debbie B. says:

    The mikveh I use is run by a consortium of Conservative shuls. According to the shomeret, its use is, and has always been since it opened a little over a decade ago, evenly split between use for conversions and for taharat hamishpacha.

    Standard fee for conversion is $150, but converts can pay less if it is a hardship. (She says some have paid as little as $20.) There may be a standard fee for brides, but I don’t know about it.

    No fee for taharat hamishpacha use; a donation is requested. Women who visit regularly typically donate $18/visit or perhaps $36. People who use the mikveh for other than a regular basis typically donate somewhat more.

    Everything is provided except for a toothbrush (and she has some spares for people who forget to bring their own).

    I haven’t heard about tipping (but I wouldn’t know about much outside my own limited experience anyway), but there was one time that the shomeret was not feeling well and asked if I could postpone my visit. But I really needed to use the mikveh that night, so I was very appreciative when she drove the 20 min from her house to the mikveh and spent the time there just for me. I added an additional Chai to my donation that time. I’m sure she would have preferred that over a personal tip anyway, since she doesn’t need the money, but she has mentioned how expensive it is to maintain a mikveh and how the amounts collected from fees and donations don’t cover the full expenses paid by the sponsoring shuls.

    I rate my experiences a 5. It is a nicely maintained mikveh (although the shower is starting to show signs of age and the water pressure is too low), but what I like is how kind, supportive, and considerate the mikvah lady is. She wants it to be a positive experience so she is particularly careful to do everything, even checking for stray hairs, etc, in a way that is respectful of a woman’s modesty (it can be embarrassing to be inspected while nude even with another woman).

    The shomeret sees herself as an advocate and educator concerning the mikveh. She even participates in conferences on the mikveh. When I used the mikveh for conversion, she described not only the whole process, but also aspects of symbolism (allowing some of the water from the shower to remain on the body so that the old and new waters mingled) which really made it an even more spiritual experience. My husband says that while I was preparing before my conversion immersion, she gave a detailed explanation to him and to my friend all about the history and use of the mikvah.

  9. JewishGal says:

    I pay $22, plus whatever I use that isn’t included, ie: can’t be shared (brushes, toothbrush, etc). I also put some money in their tzedakah but I don’t tip the mikvah lady – it never occurred to me…

    My experiences have been 4-5 range, depending on my mood, some months I *really* need it and I take a really long time soaking in the tub and relaxing and it’s soooo good. Other times it’s more routine but I still give it a 4 :)

  10. Frayda says:

    The community mikvah in Baltimore is only $12. They provide everything except toothbrush but I generally use my own things even if I prep there. They provide lovely robes and towels. The mikvah ladies are very nice and pleasant. I have never tipped. I would say that my regular experience is a 4.5. I have never had any problems and one time, the mikvah lady went SO FAR out of her way to help me that I would have rated that experience a 10!

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