Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Site Review of MikvahCalendar.com

An image of the front page of www.mikvahcalendar.com

It is a privilege to have been given the opportunity to write a review of the Mikvah Calendar.

Mikvah Calendar is a beautiful site that has been developed over a 4 year period and is managed by an impressive team: Rikvah Bloom (earned her Bachelors of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering and her Masters of Computer Science from MIT), Dan Gepner (traditional B.S. in Business Management from The Carlson School (U of MN)), Merrilyn Romen (award winning Creative Director) and an anonymous software specialist under the rabbinical guidance of Rabbi Fishel Jacobs. All information regarding the team can be found in the About Us page.

When visiting the site one finds a beautiful, professional page that is clear and easy to read. This page opens up with a welcome message to those who will potentially work with the site, that leaves one feeling honored, respected and an important part of a team dedicated to the mitzvah of Family Purity.

The top of the page allows a person to become acquainted with the information and functions of the site. A pointer automatically guides us to each feature with a pop up providing further information as is relevant.

Clicking on the "more" button, permits one to progress to other features of the site.

Times for sunrise and sunset adjust automatically according to the location that you enter when registering with the site.

The site offers Chabad, Ashkenazi and Sefardi customs, giving you the opportunity to choose the custom that suits you and your husband's practices.

Those using Mikvah Calendar are offered a choice of 4 different backgrounds and colors. You will be given the opportunity to receive email reminders of important dates – a feature soon to be implemented.

An important element is the recording of patterns in one's cycle. This is important both for ease of calculating and for observing the mitzvah correctly. This is beneficial when a woman visits her doctor.

All information can be printed for personal records. It is vital to always have a hard copy available at all times irrespective of the professionalism of any online Mikvah program.

The approbation for this project has been given by Rabbi Fishel Jacobs author of "Zemonim," "Chochmot Hataharah" and "Family Purity." This is easily available on the website for anyone who wishes to read it.

For those who require guidance from a competent orthodox rabbi, familiar with the laws of Family Purity, Rabbi Jacobs can be contacted to answer questions via his email address is easily found by clicking on the tab entitled "Ask The Rabbi".

In keeping with the Jewish law, Rabbi Jacobs recommends all women who might use this site to keep a hand-written record. Working with both enables women to improve in their ability to calculate effectively and accurately.

A Glossary of Terms is available to help in understanding the concepts of Family Purity.

A page of Frequently Asked Questions is available, though personal questions can still be addressed to Rabbi Jacobs or the site team.

An Image of the Calendar itself as you begin to get started with www.mikvahcalendar.com

Ease of use of the Calendar:

Entering the date of onset of a cycle is achieved easily by clicking on the cell related to the relevant day. A window will pop up that enables you to enter the exact time of onset as is required by Jewish law.

Once you have entered this, the computer then places a blue line through the 5 days of cycle with an indication for the potential date of a Hefsek Tahara (i.e. the time to perform a check before beginning the "7 clean days.") Entering the verification of a clean Hefsek Tahara is once again done by clicking on the relevant cell. The computer will then calculate for you the onas, monthly and average cycles. This information is indicated by a colored bar, with a different color for each. By holding the cursor over each bar, information pops up explaining exactly what aspect of the cycle this is and how it was calculated. This feature is very helpful for any woman who is still familiarizing herself with the terms, laws and how to record correctly independently. The vestot are calculated for you after one cycle is entered, except for Veset Haflagah, which, by definition, needs two cycles to calculate.

For anyone wanting to know how the vestot were calculated, in the left hand veset bar (with the times/dates of all your current vestot), you can click on "Show Details" to see this information.

If you have made any mistakes in your recording, do not worry; an "x" appears in the top right hand corner which permits you to erase a date or dates.

The default calendar is presently set up for the secular calendar, providing the Hebrew equivalent underneath. Possibility for using the Hebrew calendar as the default is being worked on and should be available soon.

In summary, the Mikvah Calendar is a professionally constructed site, managed by a team that is dedicated to enabling women to fulfill the mitzvah of Family Purity more effectively. Under the Torah guidance of Rabbi Fishel Jacobs who is also available to answer private questions, this site is a most useful one.

The Mikvah Calendar is currently available free; however a nominal charge of $18 per year will be introduced shortly.

1 comment:

Safranit said...

I've been using Vestos for years..it isn't as pretty, but it is free, and for this application, I think I'd prefer something on my local computer..unless I traveled lots...

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