The Mikwe (mikveh), the Jewish ritual bath
Obernbreit is one of the very few places to have a well preserved ritual bath built in the 18th century. It is a small square basin - 2 by 2 metres - with a narrow staircase leading down about 10 metres in 45 limestone steps to the "living water" which in this case is groundwater.
Oral tradition and a family chronicle written in the 1920ies had hinted at the existence of it underneath the synagoge.But for nearly 100 years the Mikwe had been filled with rubble and burried under a concrete floor built in after the desecration of the synagoge.
In 2000 a young researcher investigated the history of Frankonian synagoges and found out that the legendary bath still seemed to exist. In 2005 a number of committed people set out digging in order to prove or disprove the researcher´s findings. In two years and about 550 man hours the volunteers excavated the stairs and the basin. It contains clear water with a constant temperature of 10 to 12 degrees centigrade.
Stairs to the Mikwe. Photo: Mike Meyer.
Descending stairs to the Mikwe. Photo: Mike Meyer.
Photomontage bevore the bath was uncovered.: H. C. Haas