New Rituals for the Onset of Menstruation

three women embracing, shot from behind, two holding sprigs of babys breath

During a session of our Jerusalem Women’s Group, we brainstormed how we might create new rituals for Jewish women. As we explored Jewish life, and defined new/old traditions for the egalitarian era, we noticed a fearing absence of observance for this milestone in a young woman’s life, therefore we suggest some of the following:

I. Create a setting.

  1. A retreat/slumber party for women only
  2. An evening event including women of the family or close friends
  3. After the cycle to the mikvah
  4. Wait for Full/New moon

II. Allow mother and daughter to be alone to reflect.

III. Ideas for gifts and teachings

  1. Take on a new responsibility
  2. Share stories of menstruation
  3. Book and teaching BC/Basal method — thermometer
  4. Respect her body
  5. Give thanks for the gift of life
  6. Read Sara’s story of getting her period to give birth to Isaac
  7. Cramp exercises
  8. Modesty
  9. Tumah/taharaRachel Adler
  10. Girl takes on new responsibility of being Jewish and fertile person
  11. Give girl a new name
  12. Have women present and give girl blessing/s
  13. Massaging
  14. Book menstruation anthology (to include above)
  15. Mikvah

IV Communal Meal:

sprouts for life, fruit cake, salads, figs, pomegranate, honey cake, moon cake

V. Ideas for gifts:

  1. Plant a tree in girl’s name Hadas [myrtle] or fruit
  2. Moon jewelry or women’s symbol
  3. Red underwear
  4. Thermometer
  5. Pearls
  6. Embroidery
  7. Roses-red
  8. Herbs

VI. Ceremony

  1. Songs, Dancing
  2. Kiddush
  3. D’var Menstruation
  4. Prayer
  5. Meal
  6. Blessing
  7. Planting
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