During a session of our Lit. City of peace From the time of David to the Roman destruction, Jerusalem was the capital of Israel and the spiritual and governmental center of the Jewish people. During the long exile, Jews longed to return to Jerusalem and wrote poems, prayers, and songs about the beloved city. In 1967, with the capture of the Old City, Jerusalem was reunited, becoming "the eternal capital of Israel." Still, the longing for peace is unfulfilled. 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.
- A retreat/slumber party for women only
- An evening event including women of the family or close friends
- After the cycle to the The ritual bath. The waters of the mikveh symbolically purify – they are seen as waters of rebirth. A convert immerses in the mikveh as part of conversion. Many Orthodox married women go to the mikveh following their period and before resuming sexual relations. Couples go to the mikveh before being married. Many, including some men, immerse before Yom Kippur; some go every Friday before Shabbat.
- Wait for Full/New moon
II. Allow mother and daughter to be alone to reflect.
III. Ideas for gifts and teachings
- Take on a new responsibility
- Share stories of menstruation
- Book and teaching BC/Basal method — thermometer
- Respect her body
- Give thanks for the gift of life
- Read Sara’s story of getting her period to give birth to Abraham and Sarah's much-longed-for son and the second Jewish patriarch. Isaac is nearly sacrificed by his father at God's command (Genesis 22). He is married to Rebecca and is the father of Esau and Jacob. His Hebrew name is Yitzchak.
- Cramp exercises
- Tumah/tahara — Lavan's younger daughter and Jacob's beloved wife second wife (after he is initially tricked into marrying her older sister, Leah). Rachel grieves throughout her life that she is barren while Leah is so fertile. Ultimately, Rachel gives birth to Joseph and dies in childbirth with Benjamin. Rachel is remembered as compassionate (she is said to still weep for her children), and infertile women often invoke Rachel as a kind of intercessor and visit her tomb on the road to Bethlehem. Adler
- Girl takes on new responsibility of being Jewish and fertile person
- Give girl a new name
- Have women present and give girl blessing/s
- Book menstruation anthology (to include above)
IV Communal Meal:
sprouts for life, fruit cake, salads, figs, pomegranate, honey cake, moon cake
V. Ideas for gifts:
- Plant a tree in girl’s name – Hadas [myrtle] or fruit
- Moon jewelry or women’s symbol
- Red underwear
- Songs, Dancing
- The prayer recited over wine on Shabbat, holidays, and other joyous occasions.
- D’var Menstruation