Shalom From the Shabbat Lady

By Laura Seymour
Dear Families,
We have had so many holidays but now we take a break. Do you know that there are only six holidays mentioned in the Torah? If you can’t name them all, e-mail me for the answer at We do have two regularly occurring holidays: Shabbat, of course, and Rosh Chodesh, which we celebrated on Sunday and Monday.
Rosh Chodesh is the celebration of the new month; it happens 11 times during a regular year (Rosh Hashanah takes its place at the beginning of Tishrei) and 12 times during a leap year, when we have two Adars. The Jewish calendar is both lunar and solar. The moon tells us the beginning and ending of each month but the calendar must be adjusted so that the holidays always fall in their proper season, based on the sun. This is why every year the holidays are either “early” or “late” — but no one says that the holidays are right on time (do you ever wonder why?).
In ancient times, people did not work on Rosh Chodesh; however, recently it has become a holiday for women. There is a midrash that when Moses was up on Mt. Sinai, the people were nervous and they demanded that Aaron build a golden calf. The women did not contribute their jewelry to build the idol. As a reward, G-d granted the women the holiday of Rosh Chodesh, so that, like the moon, women would be rejuvenated each month.
Young children do not yet grasp the concept of time such as a week, a month or a year. For our families, Rosh Chodesh is a wonderful time to experience the cyclical nature of Jewish life. There are so many things to do for families of all ages:
1. Observe the moon — it is a great before-bedtime together time. Keep a journal in pictures or words.
2. Find a “Rosh Chodesh spot” — take a picture each month in the spot and watch the changes of the place and the people over the year.
3. Read books about the moon, listen to moon music, draw pictures — bring in the month through the arts.
4. Say this simple blessing, which is a small part from the Kiddush Levanah, the Sanctification of the Moon, while looking at the moon: Baruch Atah Adonai, m’chadaysh chodasheem — Thank You, G-d, for renewing the months.
5. Make sure you have a Jewish calendar so that you can know the names of the months, the date of Rosh Chodesh each month and the holidays that fall during that month.
6. Learn this song:
Twinkle, twinkle little moon
I wonder if I’ll see you soon
Up above the world so high
Like a crescent in the sky
Twinkle, twinkle little moon
I wonder if I’ll see you soon.
Enjoy the new month of Cheshvan!
Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.

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