Jerusalem, Israel - Apr. 26, 2018 - Over three hundred participants and mikveh attendants from across Israel attended The Eden Center's annual conference held at Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus on April 23, in Jerusalem, Israel. The day-long program focused on how to respectfully and properly help women with disabilities who come to immerse in the mikveh.
Approximately 750,000 women in Israel immerse in the mikveh each year. Thousands of mikveh attendants welcome and serve these women, 363 nights a year. But an under-looked fact is that 1 in 6 of the women immersing have some type of disability invisible to the naked eye. At the Eden Center conference, challenging questions were raised and appropriate tools and guidelines provided to elevate such situations.
Dr. Naomi Marmon Grumet, founder of The Eden Center explained to BJL, "There are many mikvaot in Israel that are handicap accessible. This year The Eden Center has put a focus on educating mikveh attendants about disabilities- physical, but not only. We mustn't forget emotional challenges such as OCD, depression and many other issues. For these women too, the mikveh should be a personal,spiritual, positive experience".
Special guest speaker at the conference was Knesset Member Shuli Moalem-Refaeli sharing her personal story as a woman struggling with breast cancer.
This year's annual Eden Center Conference took place in partnership with Tahareinu, the Shalem Foundation and the Jerusalem Municipality.
The Eden Center trains hundreds of mikveh attendants each year on many important subjects. This year Eden published a booklet about breast cancer providing the mikveh attendants a wide scope of information on how to support women who come to the mikveh while struggling with cancer.
Other topics at the conference and panel discussions included women’s health and unusual situations that mikveh attendants face at the mikveh. "The purpose of educating the attendants in women's health isn't for them to diagnose or treat a woman, rather that they know what to look for to direct women to a professional when necessary. There are many stories of women sharing personal medical concerns during this most intimate time of coming to the mikveh. It's critical that the mikveh attendants know where to direct the worried woman" added Dr. Grumet.
This year's conference coincides with Israel's 70th birthday celebrations. The Eden Center took on an initiative to collect thank you letters to mikveh attendants across the county. Hundreds of letters have been collected, many of them were displayed and shared at the conference as part of the 'Ten Days of Thanks' program.