A crescent-shaped tambourine is passed around a circle of women, including the girl celebrating the onset of menses. As each woman holds it, she attaches a streamer and tells the girl of a blessing that she individually has received as a Jewish woman. At the end of the circle, the tambourine is handed to the girl, a symbol of her becoming part of a community of Jewish women.
Reprinted with permission of the authors. JudithJudith saved her people by seducing Holofernes, the enemy general, and then decapitating him. The story of Judith, found in the apocrypha, is associated with Chanukah (relating to the tradition of eating cheese dishes because she seduced the general and fed him dairy). Her Hebrew name is Yehudit. Chalmer is the author of a book of poems, Out of History’s Junk Jars (Time Being Books, 1995). Adapted from “Turning 12: A Menarche Ritual,” LilithIn the midrash (rabbinic story about the Torah story), Lilith is imagined as Adam's first wife. Because she wanted equality, she wss ultimately banished, and God provided Adam with a more obedient wife. Lilith, according to tradition, lives on as a kind of demon, causing men to have wet dreams and stealing infant boys from their cribs. Today, Lilith has been reclaimed by Jewish feminists as a symbol of women's equality. #21:18.