Rosh Chodesh, meaning head of the month, is a holiday celebrating the arrival of a new moon.
The new moon was a big deal in ancient times, marked by a festival, sacrifices, and blowing of the shofar, as commanded by God:
And on your joyous occasions—your fixed festivals and new moon days—you shall sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and your sacrifices of well-being. (Numbers 10:10, from sefaria.org)
Due to a Talmudic midrash on the golden calf, the holiday became particularly special for women.
And Aaron said to them, Break off the golden rings (Ex. 32:2). The women heard [this], but they were unwilling to give their earrings to their husbands; but they said to them: “Ye desire to make a graven image and a molten image without any power in it to deliver.” The Holy One, blessed be He, gave the women their reward in this world and in the world to come. What reward did He give them in this world? That they should observe the New Moons more stringently than the men. (Pirkei De-Rabbi Eliezer 45:4, from Sefaria.org)
In doing so, Rosh Chodesh was often celebrated by women as a day off from work. In the 16th century, women of Eastern Europe also wrote special personal prayers for the occasion. In the 1970s, Jewish feminists claimed Rosh Chodesh for spiritual growth through worship and study. Today, it is not difficult to find women who gather each month to celebrate with liturgies of healing, liturgies written by women and speaking to women’s experiences, and the study of Torah. Look no further than our own Holy Blossom Temple, where we celebrate each new month in solidarity with Women of the Wall in Israel.
All genders are welcome to join Women of Holy Blossom for 7:30 am Shacharit services on these dates (9:00 am on Sundays and statutory holidays*), followed by a light breakfast:
Rosh Chodesh Nisan: Thursday, March 23, 2023
Rosh Chodesh Iyar: Friday, April 21, 2023
Rosh Chodesh Sivan: Sunday, May 21, 2023*
Rosh Chodesh Tammuz: Tuesday, June 20, 2023
Rosh Chodesh Av: Wednesday, July 19, 2023
Rosh Chodesh Elul: Friday, August 18, 2023
Or join via zoom:
Watch for the monthly blog, researched and written by Tere Horner-Quiroz, posted on the Holy Blossom website, and circulated in Holy Blossom’s email blasts.
Feel free to contact Women of Holy Blossom with questions and comments. Looking forward to celebrating together.