Rosh Chodesh is name for the first day of the Jewish Month. The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar. In ancient times, the beginning of the new month was determined by the sighting of the New Moon.
Today we have calendars that tell us exactly when Rosh Chodesh and other Jewish Holidays will fall.
How is Rosh Chodesh observed?
1) There is a special prayer called "The Blessing of the Month" that is read in synagogue on the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh. It begins with the words "May it be Your will... that You renew this month for us for good and for blessing."
2) There is a special prayer added to the daily prayer and the Grace after Meals on Rosh Chodesh day called "Ya'a' le Ve-Yavo".
3) The "Hallel" prayer is recited after the morning prayer.
4) The second morning prayer "Musaf" which is added on holidays is also recited.
5) The book of Numbers is read at synagogue during morning prayers.
Rosh Chodesh is considered a woman's holiday as a reward for not participated in the Sin of the Golden Calf and because women are connected to the moon. In many communities, women will gather on this day and engage in activities that center around issues that are important to Jewish women.
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