Tradition & Innovation

First Menstruation

Many Jewish women recall being slapped across the face by their mothers when they began to menstruate. Whatever the explanation of this ritual, it has surely outlived its usefulness, if ever it had any. The question which confronts us today is how, in a religion filled with blessings, do we find a blessing for this momentous but largely unrecognized occasion? Some women have answered this question by creating elaborate ceremonies for their daughters which they celebrated among female friends. Others have felt that such a ritual would be far too embarrassing for the already shy adolescent and have devised more private mother-daughter moments. However it is acknowledged, first menstruation is rite of passage that deserves recognition.


Crescent Tambourine

By Judith Chalmer and Fran Solin
A tambourine ritual for the onset of menses   more
Ritual Component

From Developing Girl to Changing Woman

By Diann L. Neu
A ritual for a girl's first period. Includes a circle of names, blessings, candle-lighting, and gift-giving. Ritual objects include a tambourine, red ribbons, a decorative egg, a ring, candles, and red fruits.   more
Complete Ceremony

Enter: A Woman

By Phyllis Berman
A moonlit ceremony on the shores of a brook. Celebrates the entrance of a daughter into womanhood. Includes songs, book-giving, adapted tashlich ritual, and blessings.   more
Complete Ceremony

Tags: kiddush, tashlikh


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