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.


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“We praise you, Shekhinah, / who has given us life”
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Ideas for first menstruation ceremony

Suggestions for a First Menstruation Celebration

Audio/video shiviti meditation chant

Miriam’s Moon: A Shiviti Meditation
A set of suggestions for creating a Jewish celebration of menarche
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A poem about a daughter’s onset of menses at the same time as her mother, the poet, begins menopause
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A tambourine ritual for the onset of menses
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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.
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