First Mikvah of Western Africa

By COLlive reporter

Holy waters in... Nigeria.

The very first Mikvah to be built in all of Western Africa is currently being constructed by Chabad and is set to be completed within 3 months.

Several attempts have been made in the past to build a Mikvah there but due to the prohibitive costs of land and building permits, the project was delayed, was told.

Not wanting to wait any longer, Chabad's Shliach in Nigeria Rabbi Israel Uzan located a small property and signed a long-term lease and digging began just after Rosh Chodesh Shevat 5776.

The French-born rabbi arrived in 2012 in the capital city of Abuja with his wife Haya Uzan to establish Chabad Lubavitch of Nigeria.

Uzan and other Rabbinical students visited the local communities of Lagos and Abuja over many years as part of the Merkos Shlichus program, supported by Chabad of Central Africa and Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky.

Rabbi Uzan invited the renowned Mikvah expert Rabbi Gershon Grossbaum to help with the architectural plans and oversee the construction of the foundation and water reservoirs (boros).

Work indeed began on the 10th of Shevat, an auspicious day in Chabad commemorating the yartzeit of the Frierdiker Rebbe and the day the Rebbe accepted the mantle of leadership of world Jewry respectively.

Once the rain fills the resevoirs, the Mikvah will be available for the more than 70 Jewish families from Abuja and Lagos, amongst them 10 whom have already undertaken to keep the laws of Taharas Hamishpacha, Rabbi Uzan said.

On Tu B'Shevat, children from Chabad of Nigeria's preschool and Talmud Torah planted trees and were joined by their parents for a festive Tu B'Shevat party.

The Shluchim to Nigeria operate under the leadership of Rabbi Shlomo Bentolila, Head Shliach of Central Africa who is currently in New York celebrating the wedding of his eldest child.

Chabad of Central Africa, with branches in Angola, Ghana and Nigeria, is currently celebrating 25 years of Shlichus with major plans of expansion during this special year.

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