The Special Significance of Rosh Hodesh to Girls and Women In the Jewish calendar, the appearance of a tiny sliver of the waxing new moon is observed every month as a period of renewal. Rosh Hodesh, literally "the head of the month," is celebrated 11 times a year, when a new moon appears in the night sky and a new month begins. (The first new moon of the year is a separate holiday, Rosh Hashanah.) Until the 4th century, the date of Rosh Hodesh was determined by the sighting of a new moon. Even though we now know when a new month begins without having to see the moon, the appearance of the new moon is still anticipated with joy and celebrated with special blessings, songs, study and feasting. Women in particular have maintained a strong connection to Rosh Hodesh. As the Sages tell us, the Israelite women did not contribute their gold and jewelry to the creation of the Golden Calf and, as a reward, were given Rosh Hodesh as a day off from work. Many Jewish women use Rosh Hodesh as an opportunity for monthly celebrations. Adapted with permission from the web site of the Bureau of Jewish Education, San Francisco.