Religion & Beliefs

Ladies Night

A number of years ago, my brilliant friend Sarah decided that she didn’t hang out with other women enough, and she cooked up a scheme. She called it “Girl Friday.” On the first Friday of each month, she’d gather a … Read More

By / February 1, 2007
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A number of years ago, my brilliant friend Sarah decided that she didn’t hang out with other women enough, and she cooked up a scheme. She called it “Girl Friday.”

On the first Friday of each month, she’d gather a group of smart women together at her place, make dinner, and we’d all hang out and do a craft project of some kind. There was usually a large quantity of wine, and the projects varied greatly. We made beaded jewelry, decoupaged terra cotta pots (and did a planting), learned to needlepoint, and attempted artful sushi rolls. All kinds of fun stuff. This went on for years, even attracting the attention of Al Roker and Real Simple Magazine.

So why did it take me about two years to realize that Sarah was just creating a new (and secular) version of Rosh Chodesh, a monthly Jewish holiday that’s special for the ladies?

Rosh Chodesh has long been considered a special holiday for women. There are a number of reasons. First, according to legend, the holiday was a reward given to the women of Israel because they refused to surrender their jewelry for the creation of the golden calf… Second, many people have pointed out that the menstrual cycle is similar to the monthly cycle of the moon. (The English word "menstruation" derives from the Latin word for "monthly.") Third, Penina Adelman, author of the first modem Rosh Chodesh ritual guide for women, points out that the words Roshei CHodshiM, heads of the months, contain the same letters that form the word ReCHeM, womb. (from MyJewishLearning.com)

Admittedly, we weren’t following the Hebrew calendar, so the dates were totally off, and we weren’t praying much, but that instinct to welcome the month with other women, to drink wine, and share… it’s not far off.

I mention this now because as both a secular experience (Girl Friday) and a Jewish experience (on the occasions I’ve joined other women to celebrate Rosh Chodesh itself) the feeling of sharing with other women I respect and love is always a good one. And I think that for a LOT of women who don’t pay much attention to the Jewish calendar, a creative celebration of Rosh Chodesh might be a great place to begin!