Female-centered Rosh Chodesh observances vary from group to group, but many, like ours at Beth Ami, are centered on gatherings of women like our own Moon Mavens Rosh Chodesh group. All Jewish women are welcome regardless of affiliation (or lack thereof). We meet as close to the actual day of Rosh Chodesh as possible each new Jewish month, sometimes having a Sunday brunch, a potluck, a picnic and walk around a park, enjoying a speaker, cooking, or engaging in activities that relate to the facts, characters, and holidays associated with the new month.
Some background: The Holy One gave Jewish women their reward for not contributing to the Golden Calf. In this world, they are rewarded with a more stringent observation of the new moons than men. They are forbidden to engage in work (spinning, weaving, and sewing: the skills that women contributed to the building of the Mishkan) on Rosh Chodesh. Instead, they celebrate a minor holiday like the intermediate days of Pesach and Sukkot. In the world to come, they are destined to be renewed like the new moons.
The first of each Jewish month, the celebration of tthe new moon, its slender crescent barely visible in the night sky, is a day historically associated with women’s renewal and celebration. In recent decades, Rosh Chodesh has become an occasion for Jewish women to gather for learning, ritual, and spiritual exploration, and to mark life passages. Rosh Chodesh groups, meeting monthly, offer a women’s space in time.
The Passover Seder addition of Miriam’sCup (for the prophet Miriam) originated in the 1980s in a Boston Rosh Chodesh group.
Our own Rosh Chodesh group pulled off a spectacular Chai Tea in 2008, honoring 28 women over 88 — our Matriarchs at Congregation Beth Ami!
The next gathering of the Moon Mavens will be a potluck brunch at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, September 1 when we will celebrate the new month of Elul and plan activities for 5780. Please join us!
Patty Bernstein, email@example.com