I was recently asked for a little more information about Women’s Rosh Chodesh meetings and how one might be set up.
First, though, I want to make everyone aware that we at LoveIsrael.org do not agree with all of the tradition surrounding this idea nor the way the liberal branches of Judaism have turned it into a feminist agenda.
This is a quote by Rabbi Eliezer from the Taamai Haminhagim. This is the rationale some branches of Judaism use to pair women and Rosh Chodesh.
The reason women customarily refrained from doing
[mundane] work on Rosh Chodesh was due to the
fact that they did not remove their nose rings [to
avoid contributing] for the golden calf. Therefore,
Rosh Chodesh was designated to them as a Yom Tov.
Source: Taamai Haminhagim, Pirkei R’ Eliezer,chapter 45
Let me state again, this is a tradition and is NOT Biblical. In fact, I believe Scripture says something quite different.
A Rosh Chodesh meeting is not so much different from any other women’s meetings, but the timing just helps us to be a little more aware of the Jewish calendar and helps us to incorporate it into our lives. Here in Israel, because of Shabbat and the national observance of Biblical holidays, it is much easier to follow the Biblical calendar.
A Rosh Chodesh chavurah (group) is a great forum for exploring the roots of our faith and to help lead us to an enlightened, exciting and meaningful future, as we apply the entire Bible to our lives. This is also a great time to study together issues impacting women, such as family purity, modesty, Shabbat, kosher laws, the various holidays, etc.
If you are considering starting a chavurah, it would be helpful to first put together a steering committee. It doesn’t have to be formal, but a few women committed to the emerging group. Once the chavurah is formed, you can consider making a more formal installation of officers. Having “official” positions helps ensure that the planning and execution of the events are carried out.
Looking at a calendar with the Hebrew dates, you can plan out meetings for the coming year. Then it is helpful to see which holidays, etc., fall in each month and that may help you plan out the meeting for that month. It might be nice to have a study pertaining to what is going on that month and then some social activity or learning activity. You might also consider having a d’var Torah (a little study on one of the Torah portions for that month) and prayer at the beginning of each meeting.
These are just a few ideas to get you started!