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Read The Articles
from The Jacob Project:

Are You Ready?
Approaching the Jacob Project

Becoming Engaged:
Approaching Rosh Chodesh

What's Possible?
Approaching Shabbat

What Moves You?
Approaching Social Action

What's Missing?
Approaching Yom Kippur

Are We There Yet?
Approaching Sukkot

Meaningful Media:
Approaching Torah

Lands of Milk and Honey:
A Jewish Approach
to Thanks...giving

Celebrating Our Year Together
Our Movement's Principles:
Approaching Reform

Chosen for What?
Approaching Passover

God, Science, and
Living with Uncertainty

It's Your Choice:
Approaching Shavuot
Becoming Engaged:
Approaching Rosh Chodesh

Our discussion, New Beginnings--Approaching Rosh Chodesh, began with some background: The celebration of the new moon/new month and the imagery of emerging from darkness to light; why Rosh Chodesh is a day of rest for women and the theme of renewal; the story of the sun and the moon and the idea of reclaiming; and how the Israelites were commanded to observe the new moon just before they left Egypt and slavery behind.

But what do these themes--reclaiming, emerging, and renewal--have to do with the Jacob Project? We discussed how they all fall under the broader concept of becoming engaged. Engaged, meaning you participate fully in something and it has meaning to you. What led you to become engaged in Jewish life and to begin making it your own, as opposed to being a passive spectator of your parents' (or someone else's) religion? Is it just a natural yearning we have in us that begins to emerge under certain conditions? Or is your engagement a result of certain life events and situations like leaving home, starting a new family, or living in the buckle of the Bible Belt? We talked about Abraham and why he had to "go forth" to become a "great nation" and to “be a blessing.” Why couldn't he do these things from home?

We decided we would celebrate our next Rosh Chodesh together outside on the Micah patio, with moon-gazing, wine, and...more conversation! Conversation about what caused us each to begin to engage in Jewish living, about family Jewish rituals that were memorable for us and that we might want to "renew" with our own children, and about existing Rosh Chodesh rituals that might feel meaningful to try at some point during our year together. We are all looking forward to this upcoming gathering-under-the-stars at Micah…*

We ended our Sunday late-afternoon discussion with music, enjoying a few moments of Cat Stevens' "Father and Son" before having to emerge from our weekend and engage in the week ahead: "If they were right, I'd agree, but it's them they know, not me. Now there's a way and I know that I have to go, a way. I know I have to go…”

*Post-script: Our Rosh Chodesh gathering took place at dusk on July 7. The Micah patio was our exquisite “dining room under the stars.” Someone brought a beautiful candle-lighting ritual, which we performed, followed by the Shehecheyanu, meaningful conversation, a candlelit potluck feast with wine, and a few relevant poems, read aloud. Several people brought cans for the food bank. Everyone helped clean up. It was a truly magical Micah evening.

--Nickie Roberts

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Yih'yu l'ratzon imrei fi v'hegyon libi l'fanecha Adonai tzuri v'goali.

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