Rosh Chodesh Intro: What We're About
Back in the day, during my college years, there were two phrases that I seemed to hear everywhere I went. The first was “Sisterhood is Powerful”…. And the second was “Free to Be You and Me.”
During the intervening 40 years, I’ve been involved with a variety of groups, both formal and informal. Some relationships were “couple” relationships that Neal and I had with other couples whose company we enjoyed. Some resulted from my role as a parent – the preschool moms who used to hang out together while our kids were in school; PTA relationships; soccer parents we cheered with; Scouting activities.
There were other groups, too – many of which were associated with my professional role: the BJE Principals’ Council; RENA (the Recon Educators’ group); faculty groups; and tzedakah organizations in which I’m active.
I’m lucky – I’ve benefitted from each of these organizations, at different points and times along my journey to self-actualization. But each involvement addressed only a discrete part of who I am (or was). Occasionally, there would be some overlap – but most of the time, the perception of “who” I am is limited to the function that I have in that group.
I think that’s probably pretty true for most of us. And, in many cases, I suspect those boundaries are both necessary and healthy.
There is a different group in which I have participated for the last year… or perhaps I should say, “all of the parts of me” participate. It’s a group where the only “requirement” seems to be that we are women who want to spend time with other women, talking about “big ideas,” in a place where we are free to express ourselves without fear.
By now, I’m sure you’ve put the pieces together and realize that I’m talking about the Oseh Rosh Chodesh group.
We have been meeting for over 10 years. We began as a group of women who were interested in Judaism from a “feminist perspective” – whatever that means! Our mission statement says that we explore Judaism from the unique perspective of women, as an intergenerational group. One of the strengths of the group is the diversity of its members: some of us have children, some don’t; some are grandparents, some are not; some of us work outside the home, some of us don’t. Some of us are married, some are not; some spouses are Jewish, some are not. We come from a variety of backgrounds, both Jewish and non-Jewish.
It is our desire to meet regularly with other Jewish women as a community which binds us together.
Honesty compels me to admit that while our topics always seem interesting, the side paths we take are also fascinating. People contribute to the conversation, or not… as they choose. There’s a feeling of safety that makes it possible to share different points of view. No one is trying to convince someone else of the “rightness” of her opinion and, consequently, there’s a genuine willingness to consider alternate ideas…. Certainly a huge difference from some of the other groups I’ve participated in!
Each month, we have a program with a specific topic. Some topics we’ve addressed previously include the following:
- What is your vision of God, based on survey
- Jewish humor and food
- Books about Jewish women or related topics
- Poetry reading and even writing
- Havdallah, it history and meaning
We’ve also had two women’s Seders and a Tu b’Shevat Seder. Typically during the summer, we choose not to meet but instead read a book, which we discuss at our first fall meeting. Even if the book hasn’t been read, however, we’re still welcome to come and participate in the discussion.
At the end of the meeting, we gather in a circle and sing “Hinei Mah Tov,” changing “shevat achim” to “shevish nashim” to reflect that we are a community of women gathered together. We currently meet on Sunday afternoons at 2 pm. For more information on RoshChodesh please contact Sheila Urman at firstname.lastname@example.org or join us by becoming a member of our yahoo group:
Click to join oseh_rc Once at the site, search for oseh_rc and join our group. If you aren't in another Yahoo Group, you will need to register. It takes just a couple of minutes. Once you join Yahoo, search for oseh_rc. You won't get bombarded with email, just a monthly notice or two. Be sure to select the email you use regularly or it will default to a yahoo email. If you prefer, send an email to Melody Magnus and I'll take care of the registration for you. You can unsubscribe at any time.