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Pink Blossom


Hartford has had at least one mikveh since the 1870's, although we have had to extrapolate their locations from historical news accounts and comments from oral histories. The predecessor of Mikveh Bess Israel, the Hebrew Women's Club of Hartford, was founded in 1927, had to litigate itself into existence against the protests of its neighbors and finally opened in 1932 on Magnolia Street. We have found mention of two mikvaot from the late 1920's that the Magnolia street facility replaced. One is referred to as being on "lower Market street" probably within, or next to, a Russian/Turkish bath that was across from the Ados Israel Synagogue. Another mikveh on Windsor street was "not in use anymore," according to accounts at the time. There is also mention in oral history recordings (which we are following up) of a mikveh in an apartment building on Main Street in Hartford.

The organization changed its name to Mikveh of Hartford in 1962 and shortly thereafter moved to Blue Hills Avenue. It remained there until the current location was purchased. The Magnolia street location was eventually sold to a church (170 Magnolia is a church now, though not necessarily the first) and the Blue Hills avenue building is also still standing.


The current name was bestowed in the early 1980's when funds from the former Bess Israel Congregation (also known as the Barbour Street Shul) were used to retire the 61 N. Main street mortgage. The mikveh took on its current name to perpetuate the memory of the once enormous shul.  


No matter where it is housed, Mikveh Bess Israel's mission is to provide a safe and sacred space for spiritual cleansing and purification. Mikveh Bess Israel is sustained by dedicated volunteers, donations small and large and by generous support from the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and the Jewish Community Foundation.

We are proud to be a community mikveh for all Jews in the Greater Hartford community to use, in consultation with their Rabbi.

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