I have yet to check this out, but I am both hopeful and skeptical about it.
Hopeful . . . because it would be really nice to be able to organize dates in a more efficient manner than making some small inconspicuous marks on a calendar that I hide in my dresser. I am also hopeful because the article states:
"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."
OK, that's good. It sounds a lot more sensitive than the local mikvah lady who can't seem to understand my custom any more than I would be able to understand hers.
Skeptical . . . because I worry that there won't be enough built-in "worst case scenario" issues--like when you have given birth, are nursing the baby, and everything is mixed up (What? AAAAAGAIN???? Nooooooooo!!!).
I think this application is a bit more complex and carefully conceived (no pun intended! LOL) than the more simple applications I have seen before (like the iPhone App.--which is pretty darn cool). The article says it took the author of the website over four years to develop the algorithm for the calendar (which, according to my understanding of Taharat haMishpacha, would be record time!)
But technology isn't for all eventualities, sadly, and the advice of a trusted rabbi is essential sometimes (and SO embarrassing).
P.S. I just looked at the site. Nope. Not for me. I know the article says "Sephardic"--but it just isn't there. I see "Chabad" and "Yeshiva University." I do not see "Sephardic." Also, if you don't know all the Hebrew terminology for stuff, it isn't a great place to go. However, if you happen to be main-stream Ashkenazi--it's probably a really great resource.
Family purity observance goes high tech
New website developed by ultra-Orthodox MIT graduate helps women calculate dates, times and patterns of family purity
Published: 06.22.09, 11:54 / Israel Jewish Scene
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. [MORE]