Daughters of the Moon is lead by Susan Posner, long time member of Temple Emanu-El and our Sisterhood's Spiritual Chair. We meet each month to celebrate the new month and new moon and appreciate a rich experience celebrating women. Susan coordinates an authentic and meaningful program that allows for us all to share stories and experiences to learn more about each other and from each other. Thank you to Sheila Kasden for reaching out to Susan to introduce an interesting topic that helped shape our Rosh Chodesh program. A little known festival called Chag HaBanot, the Festival of the Daughters, is celebrated on the 6th or 7th night of Chanukah in North African countries with a special candle lighting ceremony. Other traditions include eating salty cheese in honor of our heroine Judith, giving gifts of inheritance to our daughters and saying prayers and touching the Torah to wish our female relatives good health. It was a sacred moment as we stood on the bimah to participate in this ritual. Women of all ages enjoyed a glass of wine and jelly donuts too.

Reflection on Tevet by Barbara Levadi

What, no more latkes, candles, dripping wax, wrapping presents, miracles? What is a woman to do when the joy and festivities of Chanukah are over? On December 14, the night after Chanukah, she could have joined with thirteen other women in Sisterhood’s inspiring Rosh Chodesh celebration of Tevet. This was the fourth Rosh Chodesh celebration of 5776, each so beautifully planned and facilitated by Susan Posner. This celebration did not skip candle lighting. We had lots of glow! We lit the chanukkiah, and then more candles each in honor of women we want to remember— in honor of the women (and men) we admire in our families and temple family, our mothers, grandmothers, and those who are no longer with us; in honor of our daughters and granddaughters; in honor of Judith, a Biblical heroine who saved her people by killing an enemy general, and other Jewish women heroes throughout history including Sara, Rebekah, Leah, Esther, Deborah, and Golda Meir. We than stepped through our personal memories and cherished family traditions. What do we remember most about our earlier Chanukah celebrations? How did we celebrate as we were growing up? Always a vibrant discussion group, there was lots of sharing. And many of us had new ways of handing down memories to our children and grandchildren through capturing poignant photos in books written for the children, in making new scrapbooks filled with family memorabilia, by vacationing as extended families, and passing down cherished antique heirlooms as well as meaningful trinkets. Everyone enjoyed hearing each other’s family stories. And we got some new ideas! Then a little journey—into the sanctuary. To stand before the open ark, to each individually have an opportunity to touch and relate to the Torahs in whatever way we felt the experience. Since we were also celebrating Chag HaBanot, the Festival for Daughters, we had a particular focus on prayers for the women in our families, asking that they be granted the strength and wisdom of our foremothers. Followed by Debbie Friedman’s familiar Misheberach, our voices lifted up the most fervent prayers for compassion and healing. Whether you have come each time, only once, or not at all to the monthly Rosh Chodesh celebrations, join next time on January 11 when we will be celebrating the new moon of Shevat. All women are welcome to participate, make new friends, bond with women you have known, and be touched by the warmth of sharing.

Celebrate! (poem shared by Susan Posner and read together during Tevet)

Always we are many selves - Wives, Mothers, Grandmothers, Daughters, Friends - Yet we are altogether One

We sustain one another with  - Laughter, Love, Grace, Understanding, Compassion - Because we are altogether One

And tonight we exult in - Our solidarity, Our spirituality, Our gender, Our Jewishness - For we are altogether...One.