Rosh Hodesh groups are usually informal monthly gatherings held around the time of the new moon. Ask at your synagogue to see if there's a Rosh Hodesh group that has formed near you or start your own!
Here are some suggestions for starting a group:
- Share your idea with friends and advertise your first meeting through a synagogue newsletter or on school and community bulletin boards.
- The group can take turns meeting in members' homes or meet at a community center or synagogue.
- At your first meeting, let people introduce themselves. Start to get to know one another by sharing things like the meaning of your name, who you were named for or some details about your family.
- Think of your Rosh Hodesh group as growing 'from the inside out.' Ask members to share what they would like to get out of it!
- Here are a few ideas for things you can do at your meetings:
- Celebrate Jewish holidays
- Say traditional or creative prayers
- Study Jewish texts
- Do crafts
- Discuss experiences that group members have in common.
- Share an opening and closing ritual. Your group can decide what types of rituals you like. Your ritual could be a song, a poem, a prayer or a D'var Torah [short Torah-based lesson]. Take turns leading the meetings and deciding what the ritual will be.
- People will be enthusiastic at first, but the group's energy may eventually wax and wane like the moon itself. Here are some things you can do to keep it fresh:
- Make sure the group continues to think about what it wants to get out of meetings.
- Change around the format of meetings.
- Encourage new members to join.
- Ask a local Jewish educator for help in enriching the content.
- Rosh Hodesh groups can be exceptionally meaningful social, spiritual and educational experiences. They can also be fun!
Adapted with permission from the web site of the Bureau of Jewish Education, San Francisco.
Special thanks to Susan Berrin for permission to adapt passages of Celebrating the New Moon: A Rosh Chodesh Anthology (Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1996)