World Jewish Relief Visit’s Putti

A First Commercial Agriculture Project for Putti

Much of the land recently bought by PVAO, with self sufficiency for Putti in mind, is now being used for farming and growing of crops, and they have help! In January of this year, the WJR, a charity out of the UK, set up and started funding an agriculture project to help the people of Putti. Last week they visited Putti in order to see how much progress has been made on the project.

Kahal Kadosh She’rit Yisrael, working with World Jewish Relief

World Jewish Relief Agriculture ProjectThis is a first commercial agriculture project for Putti, and is being run by the KKSY (Kahal Kadosh She’rit Yisrael) members. The workers have been divided up into teams. A Trainer heads up each team, and with hard working trainers such as Daniel and Fred, these they are succeeding! Each worker will receive a fair reward for their hard work. 
Currently, they are growing 4 different crops, including onions and water melons. When the crops are ready for harvesting, in a few months time, they will then be sold for profit, to local shops, hotels and other villages. The profits will be divided up to pay for more crops to be planted and to pay the workers a % of the profit they make! 
During the current planting season and the next, they are being taught about agriculture by a local professional agronomist, who are helping to over-see this wonderful project. 
World Jewish Relief Agriculture Project
Over the last five or so years, due to the relationship between Ros Eisen, the PVAO London based Member of the charity and World Jewish Relief, Wjr took the major decision to actually work on a Project with Putti/KKSY, rather than just stepping in with emergency support, as and when.  Previously, Wjr had sent funds to Putti on a few occasions when there was either a famine crisis or, a severe drought. 
PVAO are hoping that Wjr will continue to support Putti for years to comeThe aim of both PVAO and Wjr is that this Orthodox Jewish Community, located near the big town of Mbale in Uganda, will eventually become self sufficient.

Phones for Putti

We are looking for 2 smart phones for the community of Putti.

Cell Phones for PuttiWe are looking for phones or donations toward phones for the community of Putti. The women of Putti are wanting to start community groups, and steady internet access is hard to come by. Having smart phones on hand will greatly aid in these groups in several ways. They will allow the women who can not read or write english and do not have steady internet access to communicate by leaving voice notes, as well as being able to communicate to each other as often their nearest neighbors are very far apart. Communication with PVAO, their main source of fund-raising, is also a great necessity that having phones could make much easier. They could send us much needed regular messages on what is going on within their village and what is happening with all the projects we are working on for Putti. In addition, they would be able to send us up to the minute photos of building works, harvest planting etc. We would also be able to monitor and support each student that we support more closely if we could easily communicate with them. Currently, the nearest internet facility is some 45mins away by car.  That facility charges for internet use, so for most Puttis just getting there is  a big problem, let alone paying internet costs which is not within their means.

Communication makes life easier!

By having phones, their lives would be made that much easier and they and PVAO could keep in much closer regular contact. Phones that have a camera facility would be even better!!! For instance, if a child or adult, developed a skin rash, they could send us a photo of the rash, then by forwarding this photo on to a doctor he or she, would look at the rash, then diagnose proper treatment. Also say whether or not it is contagious. If a Putti building suffered damage due to adverse weather, very common in this part of Uganda,  by sending us a photo PVAO we would know and advise on repairs, and fund raise to fund the repairs etc. Photos they take could also be used to update our PVAO/Putti website readers.

Can you help?

OUR AIM IS TO HAVE TEN PHONES at least 5 of which should have a camera facility. Donate today and help ease the communication barrier for the people of Putti. Do you have a phone you can donate? Contact us today for more details on how to donate your phone.

Happy Hannukka

We want to say thank you, dear PVAO supporters!!!

Happy Hannukka from Putti Village

Photo by Laura Di Castro Photography

This year, thanks to your support, PVAO was able to help the people of Putti on many levels:

Thanks to you, people with medical emergencies could get treatment.

Thanks to you, the people from Putti received dental care.

Thanks to you, children attended High School and several students could attend college or learn a trade.

Thanks to you, we built a Shabbat Sleepover House where visitors are welcome to stay over on Shabbat and other religious Holidays.

Thanks to you, a family’s home was repaired.
Thanks to you, the water supply to the village was restored.
Thanks to you, the people from Putti improved their food supply.
Because of your support, the community of Putti knows they are not alone….!

GOOD NEWS about the Galandi Family’s Home

Putti Village Damaged Roof

Because of several generous donations, the Galandi family’s home, which was destroyed in a storm has reportedly been rebuilt!!!
On behalf of Moshe Galandi and his family, thank you very much to all the donors!

We hope to provide a photo of the restored house in our next Newsletter…!


For those of you living in the Netherlands (or Belgium), our chairman, Sjimon den Hollander will give a lecture on PVAO, the history of the Putti community, and our ongoing projects on: Sunday, January 8 2017 at 14:00 (2PM)

The address of the event is:

Pastoral Center “De Ark”
Olijfgaarde 12
3343 DE Hendrik‐Ido‐Ambacht


  • Amazon Smile
    • If you shop at Amazon, there is a wonderful way to support Putti without any extra costs! First register Putti Village Assistance Organization as your charity of choice, using this link:‐1253778
      Then, each time you shop with Amazon, log into Amazon Smile ( When you shop, Amazon will allocate a small percentage of the money you spend to PVAO!!!
  • Sponsor a Student
    • sponsor a studentProviding education to a student is no less than giving him/her a future. You can sponsor a High School student for only $45 a month.
      To sponsor a College student is $175 a month
  • Buy a PVAO Calendar
    • You can order our beautiful calendars by contacting Heather at: Calendars are $15 each (excluding shipping outside the USA)
  • Have a PVAO event in your Community
    • Ask if your synagogue is interested in doing a fundraiser for Putti, PVAO could organize an informative slideshow lecture, with a live performance featuring Rachman Nachman from the Jewish community of Uganda and great musicians!
      Your community would have an unforgettable evening!!!
      Email Sjimon den Hollander at:
  • Make A Donation
    • You can send a check to: Putti Village Assistance Org. 21 East 22nd Street, 12G New York, NY 10010
  • Become Involved
    • PVAO is looking for capable volunteers who want to be on board.
      Specifically we need someone who would be willing to oversee our EDUCATIONAL projects. We expect that this would constitute about one to two hours of your time per week, on average.

    putti students

    In Short…….

    Putti Village Assistance Org (PVAO) thanks you for your support.

    PVAO wants to say a big thank you for helping us, to help the Putti Jewish Community (KKSY) in Uganda.

    Because of people like you, our charity has been able to offer the Puttians, clean, fresh running water, education at all levels, much needed medical and dental aid and other essentials such as funds to repair damaged homes. This year we built a Shabbat Sleepover House where visitors are welcome to stay over on Shabbat and other religious Holidays.

    None of our achievements would have been possible without you!!!

    Tarphon Kamya and Erisha ZirabaPVAO would also like to thank all the Putti Leaders, giving a special mention to Tarphon Kamya (Chairman) and Erisha Ziraba, for their tireless contribution to their Community.

    Happy Hanukka to one and all

    Happy Hanukka to one and all

    Sjimon den Hollander, PVAO Chairman
    Ros Eisen, Secretary and U.K. representative

    Sjimon den Hollander and Ros Eisen

Two PVAO Board Members Finally Meet

3,000 emails and 100 Skype Meetings later!!!!

PVAO members Joel and SjimonTwo Putti Village Board Members – Chairman Sjimon Den Hollander (New York) and Joel Beattie (Washington State) were able to meet recently when Joel and his wife Melanie took a short trip to New York. These fellow board members have emailed, chatted, and skype messaged each other for quite sometime now, so to be able to meet in person was an exciting event to say the least!

The Beattie’s Trip to NY

Visiting the Synagogue:

Joel and Melanie headed to New York City for a short holiday in early December 2016, and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet and spend quality time with fellow PVAO Member Sjimon Den Hollander. They were able to sit in on an early morning lecture that Sjimon headed up. It was based on Ezekiel 37, which talks about the valley of the dry bones.

Ezekiel 37:14 (CJB) I will put my Spirit in you; and you will be alive. Then I will place you in your own land; and you will know that I, Adonai, have spoken, and that I have done it,’ says Adonai.”

img_1603After this informative time, Sjimon gave them a tour of the synagogue. Congregation Shearith Israel, The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in the City of New York, was founded in 1654 CE, the first Jewish congregation to be established in North America. Boasting a rich history and beautiful architecture, it was a real treat to preview and partake in synagogue activities.

Around Town:

Putti Village affairs were on the mind of these two board members, so after their morning at the synagogue, they enjoyed a cappuccino and espresso at the Lavazza cafe and caught up on their responsibilities with the Village. “It was nice to be able to catch up and talk about our beloved Putti without a computer.” -Joel Beattie. Next came a lovely lunch at Sjimon’s New York City penthouse, where Joel and Melanie were able to see his New York style rooftop Sukkah.

We Will Meet Again!

Joel and Sjimon were able to discuss possible opportunities of reconnecting in Uganda at Putti Village in 2017! It was great to expand the relationships between the board members while connecting and brainstorming on the future endeavors to further grow the Putti community!

The latest from the village!

Time for an update!  There are many things to report.

But let me first start with one urgent issue that requires our most immediate attention….!

Do you remember little Akiva Galandi?
The young boy that is suffering from Sickle Cell Syndrome?

Here is his photo:

Akiva Medical Fundraiser

Perhaps you remember that a generous family offered to pay monthly for his medicines and we can report that Akiva is doing great!!!  He is no more ridden with pain, he can go to school now, play ball with his friends and his family couldn’t be happier with how he is doing!

However, something dramatic happened recently to Akiva and his family.

A few weeks ago, an unusually strong storm raged over the region and blew off the Galandi family’s roof which also damaged part of the walls of the house.  Thank God, the children, who were sleeping when it happened, are unharmed, but this means the family is now without their home as the house is uninhabitable in its current state.


Below you can see some photos of the house and the Galandi family:

Putti Village Damaged Roof

Here is Moshe Galandi in front of his house. The damaged roof  and parts of the walls are clearly visible in the photo.

the Galandi family






And here is the Galandi family:

Mother Norah is holding her baby boy Tzion. In front of her is little Akiva. To the right of father Moshe stands his oldest son Israel. The girl standing on the far right is an orphan that is taken care of by  the family, also called Norah.

The situation is not good….
The family now sleeps in an old house that used to be abandoned. In order to fix the house, we need about $800. We urgently ask you, if you feel that the Galandi family should have their own roof above their heads, to please help us help them out.  You can send a check to:

Putti Village Assistance Org. 21 East 22nd Street, 12G New York, NY 10010 (Earmarked as: ‘Galandi House’)






Innovation AfricaOn a good note, PVAO was able to solve an immediate water shortage that had occurred in Putti. The well was not giving more than a drop of water and about 1,500 people were now dependent on unhealthy water from the river.

Thankfully, PVAO was able to team up with a very successful Israeli-based organization  called “Innovation Africa”,  and as a result the water supply is again restored for the entire community!!!!



Putti StudentsPVAO is looking for people who want to be on board.

Specifically we need someone  who would be willing to: Oversee our EDUCATIONAL projects

Furthermore we are hoping to find someone to:
Oversee AGRICULTURAL projects, including a possibly upcoming Beekeeping project.

Putti Agriculture







Ask if your synagogue is interested in doing a fundraiser for Putti. PVAO could organize an informative slideshow lecture, with a live performance featuring Rachman Nachman from the Jewish community of Uganda and great musicians!
Your community would have an unforgettable evening!!!

Email Sjimon den Hollander at:

Thank you all for your continued prayer and support for the people of Putti!


Putti Medical Care Program

As you may know, the health of the people of Putti is very important to us. We are constantly updating you on the condition of some of its members, and even have fundraisers set up for some in need. So that is why the following news is so important! We were just contacted by Galilee Community Hospital they informed us that they will be offering free medical treatments to all Jewish community members in Putti! As the medical coverage is becoming impossible in the region and out of reach for most of the people we need to take care of the members at large, this we have extended it also to the conservative group since their hospital (Tobin is in non functional  state)

Galilee Community General Hospital

The medical care will include the following service:

  • General Medical consultation
  • Dental care (Both near the shul and at the hospital)
  • Antenatal (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
  • In and out patient service ( 50 bed capacity)
  • Ultra sound scan
  • Eye clinic
  • X-ray services
  • Theater Operations
  •  Colposcopy Scan
  • Laboratory services
  • Dialysis (will be fully operational soon)
  • Cervical cancer treatment (early stages)
  •  Breast cancer screening (mammography)
  1. All those seeking medical care should have a letter or communication from the recognized community representative.
  2. GCGH to work closely with the Jewish Community leaders to ensure that the service is delivered to those that were intended to receive it.

We continue to welcome ideas of how best to implement this medical care program to successfully achieve its intended objectives of serving the Jewish Community. 

This program will be such a relief and comfort for the people of Putti, but also for us. However, this does not mean that all medical needs are met. The Galilee Community Hospital is far removed (about 5 hours away) so the people of Putti will only be able to use this facility in exceptional cases. There will be expenses for traveling and lodging, and in emergency cases the trip will be too far. Nonetheless this is fabulous news and surely a big step towards meeting the medical needs of the Putti communityWe want to see Putti not only succeed but to thrive, and having this service available will help reach several goals. Though the medical services are free to the people of Putti, the hospital is approximately 6-7 hours away. The cost to transport people to the hospital is still something to think about and your help is still needed. Please still consider donating to the medical fund to make this free service possible. Thank you for all the prayers and support!

 However, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them peace and truth in plenty. -Jeremiah 33:6

Agriculture in Putti Village

Putti Village dreams of larger scale farming


Putti Village AgriculturePeriodic draughts and famines are a constant challenge in Africa.
For that reason, the people of Putti Village have a dream to make their food production more efficient.  In order to achieve that, they are striving to gradually change from small scale to larger scale farming. The progress they have made in recent years is already helping the community to fight poverty. But more needs to be done, to insure the community’s food supply. 

Putti Village AgricultureThe agricultural activities, as they take place right now, involve both men and women from all ranks of the village. The community typically divides the land in smaller units and applies crop rotation and mixed farming to prevent depletion of the soil. As the community wants their products to be organic, they do not use fertilizers and since their land is so fertile, this has not posed any difficulties as of yet. Even with the growing need for production, the community has still been able to resist the temptation to use fertilizers.

While still ploughing the land using bulls that are rented from their Christian neighbors, members of the Putti community dream of owning a tractor that will not only be used to cultivate their own land, but can also help them make money, as they will be able to rent it out to neighboring farmers. In addition, if each family gets a dairy cow or some poultry for their household income, this will also be a way of fighting poverty in the Putti community.

“Our dream is to evolve from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture, that is to say, farming on a larger plot of land, planting both food crops and cash crops, using more efficient farming technology, and rearing animals for milk and birds for meat to be sold”

Feeding the village

Putti Village AgricultureThe most commonly planted crops include the following:

  • Maize
  • Beans
  • Soya beans
  • Rice
  • Cassava
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Banana
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  •  Tomatoes

Putti Village AgricultureThe planting of crops takes place twice a year; in March and in September. The harvesting takes place in July and in December. Since the ability to water the crops is solely dependent on the weather (i.e. rain water), every harvest turns out differently.  The exact timing of the harvest depends largely on the type of crops that are planted.  Some crops (e.g. maize and beans) take three to four months to mature.  Other crops (such as cassava and millet) take more than six months before they can be harvested.  After the crops are gathered, the food is first dried and then stored locally in polythene bags, or at times in people’s houses.  Again, in efforts to keep the food supply organic and healthy, the villagers of Putti do not use pesticides to protect them.

Running the Project

There is not just one person in charge of the community’s agricultural efforts.  Board members and community members alike volunteer to make this project come alive. Our hope is that recent graduates will take the lead as they have experience with computers, internet access, and analytical skills. We are looking forward for this project to evolve more efficiency and to a larger scale.

You can help!

We greatly welcome donations for seeds, fruit trees, and farming equipment for our agricultural projects.  If you are able to send us a donation (or even make a monthly commitment, no matter how modest it would be) you will not only be feeding the people of Putti right now, you will be investing into the future of the village’s ability to become self-sufficient.  

Click the link below to plant your life giving tree in the agricultural community of Putti Village. Thank you!

Shabbat Sleepover House

About Shabbat and the Prohibition to Walk beyond a Certain Distance


The Sabbath (or Shabbat as it is called in Hebrew), is probably the best known of all the Jewish observances.  For those Jews that ‘keep’ (observe) the Shabbat, it is considered a precious gift from God. Shabbat is arguably the most important ritual observance in Judaism.   It is a day of spiritual enrichment and rejuvenation.  The word Shabbat itself means to end, or to cease (i.e. from work). Jews believe that God made heaven and earth, in six days and on the seventh day (Shabbat), He ceased from His creating work. When Jews rest on the seventh day after being active on six days of the week, they, in a way ‘imitate’ God in both His creative activity and in refraining from work periodically, thereby acknowledging that He is the Creator and Master of the universe. Shabbat-observant Jews remind themselves on a weekly basis, that our work, as important as it is, is not the ultimate end-in-all goal in life.  It is good to temporarily set it aside on behalf of higher values, spirituality, and a different experience of time. 

Resting on the seventh day is also about freedom. In ancient times, only the ‘upper class’ and the wealthy had time to rest. In Pharaoh times in Egypt, the slaves (Jews), never had a day of rest. So by resting on the seventh day, Jews remind themselves that they are liberated, and meant to strive spend quality time free not only of physical labor but also of mental anxiety. During the week we may be ‘slaves’ to our work and the need to succeed but on the seventh day we can experience a deeper freedom, as were our ancestors freed from slavery. 

ShabbatThe Jewish concept of resting on Shabbat may not be what we think it is.  It does not necessarily mean doing nothing or sleeping.  The Torah and the rabbinic tradition explain that Shabbat “resting” is merely desisting from a number of specified activities. Among these are activities like kindling fire, sewing, writing, cooking, baking, harvesting, sowing, building, trading, carrying objects outside a house or private area, traveling (let’s say in a car), or walking beyond a certain distance.


Getting technical:

The distance that one may travel (we are talking about traveling on foot here) on the Shabbat depends where one is at the start of Shabbat.  If you are in a house outside of a town, meaning in a remote cottage, a farm house, or a “little house on the prairie”, you can walk as far away from that house as 2,000 cubits in each direction (which is roughly about 1 kilometer or almost two-thirds of a mile).  In other words one can walk anywhere within an imaginary circle that has a diameter of 2 km, i.e. 1.25 mile, with the house exactly in the middle.
On the other hand, if you live within a village or a town, even a town as big as New York City or London, you can walk anywhere within that town until the edge of the town, plus another 2,000 cubits beyond the edge (also in each direction).

A Personal Experience   

(by Sjimon den Hollander):

   The following story happened to me about ten years ago.  It was on a Friday, and I was flying back to my home in New York City from a short vacation in Colorado. According to my travel schedule, I should have landed early enough to make it home before Shabbat and in time to prepare, but for some unforeseen reason there was a serious delay, and I landed right at the time when Shabbat was supposed to start.  I made it off the plane before the deadline but now I was in the airport and Shabbat had started.  What to do now?  The airline personnel were not willing to help at all, and there I was with my suitcase.  There were a number of problems that presented themselves to me as a Shabbat observer.  I am not supposed to use a vehicle (a cab), I am not supposed to carry objects on the street (my suitcase, my wallet, my keys), and I am supposed to honor the Shabbat with a festive meal, which was not possible at the airport; as a matter of fact I didn’t have any food or drinks with me and to make things worse, I was am not supposed to buy anything on Shabbat either.  And to make it even more complicated, we are not supposed to fast on Shabbat…!
I calculated all pros and cons.  Not having the Shabbat meal and saying blessings over wine in honor of Shabbat is less serious than breaking the laws of carrying and traveling, so all things considered, it would be better to stay in the airport until the next evening.  However I could not physically do that.  There was no place to lay down on a bench, and perhaps I could do without food or drinks, maybe I could drink water for a fountain, but I certainly couldn’t manage without sleep.
Then I came up with a plan.  I had traveled with a non-Jewish companion, and he was still at my side, seeing if I would be okay.  Shabbat is not incumbent on non-Jews.  According to Judaism, a non-Jew is not obligated to keep these laws as they are only part of the covenant that God made with the people of Israel.  Non-Jews can serve God in different ways (bit that’s a different topic).
Shabbat This kind companion agreed to take my suitcase, my wallet and my keys and deliver it to my apartment, and I gratefully accepted his offer.  Then I started walking from LaGuardia Airport to my home in downtown Manhattan.  I wasn’t really sure how to walk but I used my sense of direction and probably didn’t go as straight as I could have.
I walked through the night at a high pace and it took be somewhere between 3 to 4 hours.  All my muscles and bones hurt me when I came home.  I said the blessing over wine, had a tiny mini-meal and fell asleep. 
I do have to confess something though…  I didn’t make it to Shabbat service that next morning.

The Situation in the Jewish Village of Putti, Uganda:

ShabbatSome Putti Jews live too far away from the village itself, but still wish to pray at the synagogue located within the village. 

To enable them to observe Shabbat and to comply with Jewish Law, they need a place to rest and sleep during the Shabbat period without needing to use transport to get from place to place.

Putti Village Assistance Organization (PVAO) has therefore set up a fund in order to build a “Shabbat Sleepover House”… The building is currently underway.


We urgently need to buy more bricks in order to create more sleeping areas.   Can you help us achieve this goal?? Our aim is to raise $5,000 for this important project. By donating just $25, you will donate 100 bricks! PVAO thanks you for taking the time and trouble of contributing in any way you can.

You can make an earmarked donation by clicking on the donate button below:

We are grateful for any help you can give!

Raising Money For Putti

The other Shearith Israel, South of the SaharaA Musical Event

Recently, a fundraising event was held in the Levi Auditorium of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in New York City, with the goal to raise funds for the people of Putti Village. Hosted by the Shearith Israel League, this interesting and festive evening hosted two members of the African Jewish community called Kahal Kadosh She’erit Yisra’el. We heard a few of their special melodies, straight from Putti’s unique liturgical tradition. Also very inspiring was the Jewish musician Rachman Nachman who performed some of his reggae style songs with a Jewish twist. Sjimon den Hollander shared with us all about his involvement with this unusual group of people, his trips to Uganda, his close cooperation with Rabbi Shlomo Riskin and others to teach and elevate this community.

A Fundraising Event for Putti Village A Fundraising Event for Putti Village A Fundraising Event for Putti Village A Fundraising Event for Putti Village A Fundraising Event for Putti Village A Fundraising Event for Putti Village

In all, this amazing night was able to raise a very much needed $1,200 for the people of Putti to help with their educational and medical expenses. A highlight of the evening came when a couple who have been active in the League offered to pay the medical expenses for a young boy in the village who is suffering from sickle cell anemia. For too long Akiva Galandi was not able to get hydroxyurea, a drug used all over the world to alleviate Akiva Medical Fundraisersymptoms of people suffering from sickle cell disease. Without it, a young boy such as Akiva finds it hard to play ball or even attend school with his friends. Once he has access to the medicine he can begin the process of partaking in so many childhood activities. Akiva is now on a good path, but many more Putti children need to find donors who will allow them to maximize their educational and health potential.


-Can you be one of those donors? Click the link below to donate towards the medical fund for the people of Putti. There is also an option to make your donation a recurring payment.




The Mikvéh In Putti (Uganda)

What is a Mikvèh?

A Mikvèh* is a collection or gathering of water, and fulfills an essential role in the religious life of the Jewish people.

The Background:

According to Torah law (also called the “Law of Moses”) a person can become ritually ‘impure’. This ‘impurity’ does not suggest sinfulness and is most often not perceived as negative in itself.  The most important consequence of such impurity was that being impure would (temporarily) disqualify someone from visiting the Temple in Jerusalem.  It is generally assumed that the one of the main functions of such a concept was to instill a higher level of awe and respect to the person while entering the Temple and participating in its service. 
There were several different levels of ritual impurity, depending on what had brought the impurity about, and related to these different levels, there were distinct rituals for removing the impurity.  In some cases, for minor levels, the impurity would cease automatically at the end of the day.  For others, only the washing of the person’s hands was required.  In the most severe case, after touching a corpse, a highly complicated ritual was involved that lasted a week, for the impurity to be removed.  In many cases however, the appropriate procedure was for a person to totally immerse him or herself in water.

Some Laws of Ritual Purity Perpetuated after the Destruction of the Temple:

After the destruction of the Temple, maintaining these practices had become less relevant.  Therefore, in most cases, the rabbis of the Talmud decided to temporarily abolish them, until the time when, one day in the future, the Temple would be rebuilt.  However a number of exceptions were made for cases in which the practice would continue.  The ritual washing of hands in certain occasions, such as before eating bread is such an example in which purity laws were perpetuated.  Other examples directly involve the topic of our article, the Mikvèh (which is a body of water that fulfills a number of prescribed conditions; more about that later). 
These examples are:  Firstly, the immersion of someone’s entire body at the occasion of his/her conversion to Judaism (which, as a side note, also explains the origin of Christian Baptism).  Secondly, the practice to dip newly acquired metal and glass food utensils in such a body of water.  And thirdly, the requirement for a menstruant woman to immerse herself after a period of separation from her husband, before she can resume intimate relations.  Similarly such an immersion is required at the end of a period following giving birth. 

Requirements for a Mikvèh:

Water, like people and many objects can become ritually impure. Under Torah law, however, there are two distinct conditions that can make a body of water immune from becoming impure 

In other words, under two possible circumstances will water always be pure.  According to rabbinic law, exactly such water is needed if one would immerses oneself for the purpose of purification.  Only water which is inherently pure can be used for this specific ritual.
The first scenario involves rain water that has naturally gathered into a basin.  However, the flow of the water into the basin must happen without any interruption, and there is a number of rather complicating additional conditions.  One of them is that the rain water cannot flow through any metal pipes or through certain vessels.  Also, once the rain water is gathered into the basin, it has to be still, i.e. it has to stop flowing.  This limits certain bodies of water to be used as a Mikvèh.  For instance, a river that is primarily fed by rain water is unfit for ritual immersion.
The second scenario involves water that flows uninterruptedly from an active spring.  This involves a different set of prerequisites, which are generally less complicated.  Most significantly, the water can be used even if it keeps flowing from the spring well.

The Mikvèh in Putti:

It is this second type of Mikvèh that is used by the community of Putti. The water flows from thespring into the Mikvèh basin and back out again (see below).

The Mikvèh in Putti:

The Mikvèh

(Photography: Menachem Kuchar)

In the second illustration, one can see the actual water spring and the channel leading to the Putti Mikvèh.

The actual Mikvèh is made slightly removed from the spring itself, to create safer conditions for immersion as well as an environment of privacy by means of walled enclosure (as the immersion is typically performed without clothing).

The Mikvèh2

(Photography: Menachem Kuchar)

The third illustration shows Putti’s actual Mikvèh:

Making use of a spring and flowing water offered the significant advantage that it doesn’t offer a breeding ground for mosquitoes.  The alternative option for building a Mikvèh, namely with collected still-standing rain water, would instead have created a dangerous source of malaria.
In addition, in the way the Mikvèh was built in Putti, the water flowing out is now used to irrigate the crops on the land that feed the people!

The Minimal Amount of Water in a Mikvèh:

One thing we know is that there should be enough water to cover the entire body of an average person.   According to some authorities, as long as a person’s whole body can be covered with water, then the Mikvèh is sufficient for him/her.  The majority of the rabbis of the Talmud however held that the quantity of water has to be at least 40 se’ah.  The question then immediately comes up: How much is a se’ah?  Typically for most things Jewish, that is a matter of debate.  It doesn’t really help to know that a se’ah is supposed to be the same size as 144 eggs…  How big the average eggs in the time of the Talmud were, is another point of discussion.  In short, the opinions on the minimal quantity of water in a “ritual bath” differ from 293.2 liter (77.5 gallons) to a much stricter opinion that quotes a minimal amount of 572 liter (151 gallons).  Nowadays, as there is no maximum quantity of water, all Mikva’ot, (including the Putti Mikvèh), are built larger than the biggest quoted minimum, to accommodate all opinions. 
The above mentioned immersion of new cooking utensils has a smaller minimum of water, but can be done in the same Mikvèh as well.

Other Types of Mikvèh:

Many of the world’s natural bodies of water, such as seas, oceans, spring-fed lakes, and spring-fed rivers  are Mikva’ot as well, and can be used for purification purposes.  Before the construction of the Putti Mikvèh, the members of the Putti community generally utilized a nearby river, which offered several hazards, such as the presence of parasites, water snakes and other creatures that live in the rivers.

When the Mikvèh is Used:

According to Jewish practice, immersing in a Mikvèh is required on a number of occasions.

1. Most importantly, a Jewish woman is required to immerse after a number of days following her menstruation.  During this period she and her husband are not allowed to be together in an intimate way, until she immerses in the Mikvèh or, as we saw before in another valid body of water.  Initially, according to Torah law and in most cases, this period of semi-separation lasted seven days in total, starting from the unset of her monthly period.  As a result of a development that started in Talmudic times in Babylonia, the custom evolved into a counting of seven days starting from the end of the woman’s menstruation (often resulting in a total of about 12 days on average).  This approach has become the general practice of virtually all observant Jewish communities.

2. As the practice of monthly immersion is only observed in the context of marital life, an unmarried woman does not visit the Mikvèh.  Therefore, her first visit to the Mikvèh is typically on the night before her wedding.

3. The above described practice is also observed after a woman gives birth. 

4. All Jewish converts, both men and women, immerse in a Mikvèh after they have been accepted by a Jewish court (a Beth Din).  This immersion constitutes their entering into the Jewish people.

5. In all these occasions, the ritual of immersing oneself in a Mikvèh, is more than just a ritualistic or legalistic practice.  Therefore, apart from the above described cases, there are other occasions for using a Mikvèh, which are voluntary and done for purely spiritual purposes. 
As an example, some grooms visit the Mikvèh on the day before their wedding. 
In addition, many Jewish men (and some women) visit a Mikvèh on the day before Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).  Others practice this custom even before other Jewish holidays, some every week before the start of Shabbat and few individuals go early every day before morning prayers. 

As was alluded to before, there is a strong spiritual component to this practice.  For one thing, a Mikvèh can be seen as representing the waters of creation, or/and a mother’s womb, while immersing and coming out of a Mikvèh symbolizes rebirth and spiritual renewal, or even resurrection.
Therefore, it is not surprising to find that a rather new application of the Mikvèh has emerged in our days, namely as a tool within certain post-trauma therapies.


Jews have been building Mikva’ot for thousands of years.  In fact the Mikvèh is such an integral and essential part of Jewish practice that a Jewish community is required to make the building of a Mikvèh their highest priority.  A community is required to build a Mikvèh, even before investing in a synagogue!

Here are some pictures of Mikva’ot from (a) Antiquity, from (b) the Middle Ages and from (c) Modern Times.

The Final Stage:

The  building of the Mikvèh in Putti was made possible by generous contributions of donors like you and me. As a final stage we now need to plant trees around the Mikvèh, to provide shade and privacy for the people using it.  In addition the outgoing Mikvèh water can be used for fruit trees that provide nutrition and vitamins.  Efforts are made by the Putti Village Assistance Organization to raise money for this goal.

You can contribute to this lofty cause by donating $20 for a fruit tree, through the following link: (All donations are tax deductible)