For over a year, I've been holding gatherings to celebrate the new moon of the Hebrew months. It's called Rosh Chodesh. Chodesh means moon or month, chadash means new. Rosh means the head or start of the month.
My friend Deanne Bednar holdsFull Moon celebrations at her place. It's usually a large crowd, often delicious food, and always exciting to walk around and see the new projects developing.
Deanne and tribal mother/sister Tina Kahn were the 2 friends who supported me at the start of the Rosh Chodesh project. I made a commitment to myself to light the tipi fire and celbrated the New Moon whether anyone joined me or not. But I am such a one for others, I must constantly shake myself and remind myself – hey! – this tipi is here for me every day! If I want to commune with Shekinah in the Makom, the Holy Place, it is open to me! I placed a cot inside and thickened it with blankets and foam so I can rest there.
I wanted to dedicate it on Rosh Chodesh Kislev, celebrated Sunday, but the rain came straight down on that windless, almost balmy late November afternoon. The smoke was intense. "This is too much with my asthma", said Miriam, "I'm going to bail." Sara Rus was holding the scarf over her nose and mouth, indicating her difficulty with the situation. "Alright", I said, although I'd hoped we could overcome it. So we went into the basement of the house, in my meditation/yoga room and convened there. It was good.
The 1st commandment given to the Israelites after being delivered out of Egypt, was to sanctify the new moon (Exodus 12:1-2). The Egyptians worshipped the sun-god Ra. It seemed that the Israelites listened to the beat of a different drummer. They looked to the moon for a new means of reckoning time and seasons. Jewish days start at sundown, as it is written "and it was evening and it was morning, the 1st (2nd, etc) day" in Genesis.
Imagine a time when the month didn't begin until 2 people staring west into the dusk in Jerusalem, observed the waxing sliver of a moon. The followind day was a festival marked with music, speeches and sacrifices. In the time of Hillel II (360 C.E.), the pattern became so clear they fixed the calendar. Thanks to Chabad House of Flint, I have a calendar with all the important dates and times.
My house shall be a house of prayer for all people. I am nothing if not inclusive. God is not a respecter of persons. All are equal in that each one is here to fulfill their purpose, so they must discover what that is. B'ruch HaShem.