Rosh Hodesh (or Rosh Chodesh, see transliteration, Hebrew alphabet or Hebrew pronunciation)

Hebrew, literally meaning, "head of the month." A minor Jewish holiday celebrating the beginning of each month; a festival of the New Moon.

In biblical times, astronomical calculations were not precise, nor was the calendar definite, so the Sanhedrin, the supreme court in Jerusalem, would declare when a new month began, based on the testimony of witnesses who had sighted the new moon.

In keeping with that tradition, Rosh Hodesh is announced in synagogues on the Shabbat (sabbath) preceding each new month, and congregations stand to recite the Hebrew name of the new month, and pray that it will be a good month.

Rosh Hodesh celebrations and rituals have evolved over the centuries, and in recent decades, the festival has been rediscovered and reclaimed by Jewish women. Acknowledging the connection of women to the cycles of the moon, many women have formed Rosh Hodesh groups, which meet around the beginning of each month to study and pray together.

With the waning of the old moon, its disappearance, and its rebirth every lunar month, the ritual of Rosh Hodesh connects the Jewish people to the cyclical nature of life, and celebrates the vitality and change in the world around us.

Source: Klagsbrun, Francine. Jewish Days. The Noonday Press, 1996.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.