The idea of sanctified time is one of the foundations of Jewish faith and practice.
The Torah commands us to sanctify each month at its start, and Rosh Chodesh, literally the “head of the month,” is celebrated as a minor holiday.
The Jewish month begins when the new moon first appears, a tiny sliver in the night sky. Indeed, the word “chodesh” comes from the root chadash, which means new. The moon’s cycle of waxing and waning is a powerful symbol of renewal, reminding us that every diminution creates the possibility of rebirth. Rosh Chodesh offers us the opportunity to begin anew, not just once a year, but once a month.
Rosh Chodesh is also known as a “women’s holiday,” and many women have the custom to refrain from tedious household chores such as laundry and sewing on these days. The Talmud explains that Rosh Chodesh was given to women as a reward for not participating in the sin of the Golden Calf. It was the women’s luminous, unwavering faith that brought the Jewish people through one of the darkest moments in our history.
Each new Jewish month, the women of NWSS gather for a topical discussion, and have the chance to ‘renew’ ourselves, our lives, and our Jewish identity.