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October 9, 2015 | 26th Tishrei 5776
Rosh Chodesh

  1. Our congregation has been marking Erev Rosh Chodesh with an evening service and educational or spiritual program to follow for 6 years now. The service and program are open to both men and women and have sought to address a wide variety of interests.
    1700 Families

  2. Our congregation has been holding Rosh Chodesh services monthly for almost ten years. It was initiated by a group of congregant women who wanted to experiment with new forms of worship, in a women's context, and has always existed separate from Sisterhood. Over the years many of the original founding mothers dropped out, moved away, passed away....., but the Rosh Chodesh service has continued with a life of it's own; lay led, it has it's own service booklet with Hebrew prayer in the feminine form, and English elements written by the participants as poetry or prose. The booklet is revised every few years by the regular participants. Most months the attendance is about 20 (perhaps 10-12 who are regulars, and others who are occasionals), and ranges in age from a 16 year old, who began at 6 attending with her mom and playing with the candles, to a number of us "crones" in the 65 plus group. Most participants are in their 30's and 40's.

    The service begins with personal introductions using our Hebrew names and the names of our mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers, etc. This is followed by a sharing of our simchahs of that month, which may include a birth, a weaning, a new job, a grandchild's first steps. We conclude with kaddish, which is an important time for acknowledging griefs experienced by women (especially miscarriage, deaths of children, spouses, dear friends). Depending on the mix of folks present on a given night there may be a little dancing at the end, or some singing, and a small oneg of wine and cake.

    700 Families

  3. Ours is what I would consider to be a fairly typical Rosh Chodesh group—open to women, meets once a month around the time of the new moon. Our time together includes a study piece (which we take turns bringing and leading) and a short ceremony or service. In the future we hope to include occasional "specials" such as a time for art or music or dance, etc. We generally meet at the synagogue, but from time to time we meet in members' homes. I think the beauty of it is that it is quite intimate and very centering, peaceful and relaxing. I drew on many sources to get ideas, but the one I found to be the most helpful was Celebrating the New Moon, which is a Rosh Chodesh Anthology by Susan Berrin.
    400 Family Units

  4. I lead a Rosh Chodesh group at our temple, a congregation with over 850 family units. Our group has been active since November 1999. We meet monthly in the homes of congregants on a date as close to Rosh Chodesh as possible. If RC falls on Friday, Saturday, or a date taken by a major Temple event or Board activity we move it to the closest possible date. We use the RC 'bible', the Susan Berrins book. We also use Miriam's Well by Penina Adelman, the Women of Reform Judaism anthology as well as the Hadassah Moonbeams book. Each month we use a short service I have compiled from the Berrins book. Then we have a member present a program for the month using the aforementioned sources or ones of their choosing. Our rabbis' wives are active members and contribute significantly to our programming. We average 10 to 15 women each month. Their ages range from 20s to 90!
    850+ Family Units

  5. Jan 2007 Digest 002

                I would like to do [the new moon blessing] at Shabbat Services, but I  currently do it only at Rosh Chodesh services, which are, as you can imagine, a tad more creative and free-form. I either chant the blessing as I was taught by a cantor, or we all sing the wonderful Linda Hirschorn melody…[The service is] in the evening after Shabbat the closest to Rosh Chodesh. This is a service we hold specifically for women…


    90 families
  6. Jan 2007 Digest 002

                At [another temple], the rabbi would read part of the blessing in Hebrew, then we would read it in English and insert the month and the day on which it started, and then we would sing Debbie Friedman's "Seasons of the Moon."

  7. Jan 2007 Digest 002

                We do not have regular Rosh Chodesh services (on Rosh Chodesh), except when it may fall on Shabbat. However, on Shabbat Mevarchim (the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh), we do the announcement of the new month from Gates of Prayer (P. 453) during the Torah Service in the morning minyan on Shabbat Morning. Sometimes, particularly if the minyan is running a bit long, we may abbreviate the announcement.

                We typically do not announce the new moon during the Bar Mitzvah Service (not sure I can give an explanation as to why, except perhaps for the length of service) nor on Friday nights.

                As I think about it, I cannot think of another Reform congregation in the area that offers a Rosh Chodesh service (specifically on Rosh Chodesh).


    1100+ units
  8. Jan 2007 Digest 002

                I include the new moon blessing on the appropriate Friday eve--we don't have Saturday services every week. And, as I was taught, we sing Mi Chamocha to the holiday tune of that month (if there is one) which is a lighthearted way of welcoming the month as well.

  9. Jan 2007 Digest 003

                The new moon blessing is intended for the whole community…Rosh Chodesh is part of women's rituals, but is not intended to take away the experience from the entire congregation, but to add extra meaning to women's lives. Perhaps the customs of Rosh Chodesh are changing and growing, and maybe in time they will drop away as all things change.

                It isn't intended to be sexist, but a celebration.

  10. Jan 2007 Digest 003

                [Re:]…Rosh Chodesh services held specifically for women. Sure, you can say that this sort of thing "doesn't take away from the community's experience" but simply adds meaning to one segment of that community, but at the end of the day the Orthodox will say the same thing about men-only davening. We reject that latter--why is a service held specifically for women at all acceptable in anything other than a hyper-PC world? If we reject exclusivity and sexism, we reject it--period. It may not be intended as sexism, but that's what it is.

  11. June 2007 Digest 110

                I always chant the haftarah for the appropriate Shabbat, but we only have one Sefer Torah, so we don't generally do any special maftir when Rabbi is there, unless he chooses to do so. When I am leading on my own and do the Torah reading, I opt for the special maftir, usually.


  12. June 2007 Digest 110

                In our regular Shabbat morning minyan, we read from the weekly parashah and read the special haftarot (Rosh Chodech, Machar Chodesh, chagim, Chanukah--did I miss any?). I believe they follow this practice for the bar-mitzvah services as well; I know I've seen this on a Rosh Chodesh, but I can't speak to the others.

                The regular minyan usually reads only one aliyah, so I'm not sure what we would do if we wanted to include the special maftir. Probably have two aliyot.


    ~860 households

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