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Rosh Chodesh Group

Rosh Chodesh ( literally "the head of the moon") is the first day of the Jewish month. It was established as a holiday in the Torah. One of the early customs which has survived into modern times is the practice of announcing the day of the forthcoming Rosh Chodesh on the Sabbath preceding it. In some communities - especially in Yemen - candles are lit in the synagogue and at home. During the last few years Jewish women have re-discovered the potential of Rosh Chodesh as a traditional holiday for themselves. They started Rosh Chodesh groups and developed new ways to celebrate it.

Jewish tradition says, that Rosh Chodesh was given as a reward to Jewish women who had refused to give their jewelry to Aaron for the creation of the Golden Calf. "All the people took off the gold rings that were in their ears" (Exodus 32,3). In Hebrew "their" is in the masculine gender and so it indicates that women did not contribute ( see pirkej de-Rabbi Eliezer, chapter 45). On Rosh Chodesh women refrained from their usual work.

In recent years , Rosh Chodesh has regained its former popularity as a "women’s holiday" inspiring many Jewish women to gather at the beginning of each Jewish month to celebrate newly created rituals, share stories, songs and study. Groups often focus on the women associated with each Hebrew month (Ester in Adar, the month of Purim; Ruth and Naomi in Sivan, when Shavuot falls ...)

Some years ago, a Rosh Chodesh group was started in Berlin, too. It is held in private homes and the host prepares a topic and may provide for a liturgical meditation with blessings.

Prayer for the New Month
(by Marcia Falk)

May the month of ... be a month of blessings:

blessings of goodness,
blessings of joy,

peace and kindness,
friendship and love,

creativity, strength,

fulfilling work
and dignity,

satisfaction, success,
and sustenance,

physical health
and radiance.

May truth and justice
guide our acts,

and compassion
temper our lives

that we may blossom
as we age

and become
our sweetest selves.

May it be so.

(The Books of Blessings, page 345)


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