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Photo: Avi Mualem
Family purity observance goes high tech
New website developed by ultra-Orthodox MIT graduate helps women calculate dates, times and patterns of family purity

A new website recently launched in the United States aims to help millions of married Jewish women observe the complex laws of family purity.

 

On the web-based solution called MikvahCalendar.com, users are guided through the process of inputting information and the confidential site’s calendar takes over from there, tracking and calculating dates, times and patterns, generating email and text message reminders, and facilitating anonymous “Ask the Rabbi” help via email.

 

Founder and co-creator Rebetzen Rivkah Bloom, who holds a masters degree in computer science from MIT, says she was inspired by women approaching her for help with the mathematics of the laws of purity. "Women needed help with the family purity calculations and because women today are internet and computer savvy they asked me to develop a program to help them do it on their own," said Bloom.

 

Working with a colleague from MIT, the Mikvah Calendar program took Bloom four years to develop. But it’s taking off fast now that it’s open for business. Tens of thousands of women from around the world have already visited MikvahCalendar.com in its first month online.

 

Another appeal of the site is its ability to handle nuances and differences in custom, including Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Chabad and Modern Orthodox. Users can choose their preferred custom, and all calculations are automatically adjusted accordingly.

 

“Based on rabbinic input and user feedback, we’re continually upgrading and adding to the site,” said Bloom. She expects to translate the site into other languages in the next few months.

 

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