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Rosh Hodesh

Sue Levi Elwell

Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell has been teaching and writing about Jewish women’s history and feminist spirituality for the past 20 years. The Founding Director of the American Jewish Congress Feminist Center in Los Angeles,

Elul, my Grandma, the Tomato Hornworm, and the Talmud

Even as it’s the start of August and the middle of summer, it’s also about to be the start of the Hebrew month of Elul.

I’m particularly conscious of the timing because my Grandma died – ten years ago this month – on the last day of Av. Confusingly the last day of Av is the first day of Rosh Chodesh Elul; ie the day before the second day of Rosh Chodesh Elul, which is in fact the first day of Elul. That in turn is the first day we blow shofar, and thus the official start of the season of teshuva – of returning to our best selves. So, in honor of my grandma, and lest the holidays catch you unawares, a few things to think about in the forthcoming season of teshuva.

I Am the Egg (Wo)Man: Reflections on Rosh Chodesh Av & Tisha B'Av

As a Reform Jew, I have long struggled with the meaning and ritual of Tisha B’Av. I have learned and studied over the years; this week at the Hartman Institute, we wrestled with the notions of and texts on communal mourning. I do not wish to see the Temple rebuilt speedily in my day, and so what do I do with this holiday?

Spirituality in the United States

Spirituality can be defined as life lived in the presence of God. It embraces not only traditional and formal modes of religious expression, but also more informal individual and communal efforts to remain mindful of the sacred in all aspects of experience.

Observance of Mitzvot: Custom and Halakhah

Numerous accounts scattered throughout early halakhic literature indicate that women had many traditions and customs of their own. Their religious life was characterized by a degree of independence and was not exclusively dependent on external halakhic norms. The manner in which women observed mitzvot was extremely influential in the formative stage of halakhah, before it was crystallized, recorded and sealed in the Shulhan Arukh.

Ritual: A Feminist Approach

Because religious praxis involving material objects plays so major a role in Jewish religion, one of the most significant expressions of the creation of feminist Judaism and its influence on the Jewish people is women’s wide-ranging involvement in the full range of ceremonies that exist both within and beyond halakhah.

Ritual in the United States

Ritual is an act or a set of actions that employs symbols meaningful to the participants in a formal, repetitive, and stylized fashion. Ritual behavior is one of the fundamental pillars of Judaism, and of all religions, whose concern is precisely with ultimate meaning and purpose.

Festivals and Holy Days

This essay describes in general terms central ordinances and customary practices regarding women’s observance of the festivals and holy days of the Jewish calendar as recorded in the Shulhan Arukh and other [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:317]halakhic[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] sources.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rosh Hodesh." (Viewed on October 25, 2014) <http://jwa.org/tags/rosh-hodesh>.

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