Ritual

A New Moon Service to Celebrate Freedom

Content warning: This service includes birth imagery that some may find triggering.

New Moon Service

Timing: 45–60 mins

Introductions & Welcome (5–10 mins)

The New Moon celebrates a new month and a new day in the Hebrew calendar — a lunar calendar that follows the waxing (increased light) and waning (decreased light) of the moon.

This New Moon Service can be practiced during any Hebrew Moon. This particular service celebrates Passover, freedom, and uplifts the voices of women in the Exodus Story.

Passover is a celebration of enslaved people and an enslaved mindset. An enslaved mindset and hard labor was used to keep the Israelites and other peoples living in Egypt bound to Pharaoh and his army.

Before we begin this service and celebration, please introduce yourself and share what freedom means to you.

Intention Setting for the New Moon (10 mins)

“A Rebirth from the Sea”
by Kadijah Spence

A Rebirth was granted to
The Children of Israel, the Isrealites, Descendants of the 12 Tribes of Israel
Some of the Egyptians, Members of the Mixed Multitude
Slaves of the Enslaved, Ones who wanted to be free
A Rebirth was granted

They gathered their things in haste. They sought a new life. They were so happy for freedom
They left their burdens behind. They were so overwhelmed with joy.
They marched all the way to the sea.

When they got to the sea they began to fear and scream, Just like a mother screams from pain
When they realized their freedom was near and could be gone
Their enemies behind them and storming toward them
Ready to steal their only chance of freedom, Just like a mother realizes her freedom
Her release could cause her death, Her death could bring new life or another death
They looked behind them and saw men, horses, chariots
All running toward them, Running to capture them, To bring them back to slavery
First, came the quarreling and Then, came the questioning
Next, came the answer and After, came the parting
Next, came the curiosity and Lastly, came the first step — That leap of faith

The mother also takes her leap of faith, The mother pushes until the head is seen
The head of the child appears, All the questions in the mother’s mind dissipates
She no longer wonders if she’ll be a good parent, She no longer wonders if her pain is worth it
She no longer wonders if she’s strong enough to make it
She finds the answers she looks for as her child emerges, She finds joy as her child emerges

The mixed multitude, The descendents of 12 tribes of Israel
Followed the Pioneer, Nahshon toward Freedom across the Red Sea
Into the next phase of their journey
They no longer wanted leeks and onions, They no longer wanted a schedule
They wanted a new life, They wanted a new life

They were given a rebirth as they crossed the Red Sea
They were offered all they ever wanted
The Sea opened up and they began to walk through
As the items became too heavy to carry and push
They left them and further unburdened themselves
They knew freedom would bring more than they could imagine
They could build their own cities, They would have their own riches
They would have their own food, They would have their own land, They would have their own

The mother pushes her child and the child fully emerges
The first cry is one of curiosity, The second cry is one of aliveness, The third cry is one of joy
The fourth cry is one of hunger, The fifth cry turns into a scream
She is trying to tell her mother I love you, thank you for all you do and all you will do
She opens her eyes and her mom is there - radiating inside and outside with love, warmth, light and care
She opens her mouth and it's filled with her mother's milk
She knows that her mom will be there
She will nourish her, She will protect her, She will guide her

As the Children of Israel, Descendents of the 12 tribes
Mixed multitude, Diverse group of people
Crossed the Red Sea, Walked through water, Left slavery, Approached freedom
They were overwhelmed
They saw God calling them toward their destiny
They opened their eyes and sensed an ambience of love, warmth, light and care
They opened their mouth and sang praises for God, They knew God will be there for them
She will nourish them, She will protect them, She will guide them
She will always be there for them

Moments for Reflection and Introspection (5 mins)

Reflect upon the intention set for the service in the poem above. You can draw, write, or meditate upon what stood out for you in the poem above. What does this poem say to you about freedom, the process of rebirth, changing your mindset, or the emergence of a new life? How does it feel to you to use feminine language for the Divine?

Discussion and Character Cards (20 mins)

Now we will learn about the women in the Exodus story. Here are questions to guide your exploration:

  • Who are the women in the Exodus story?
  • Why are they important?
  • What influenced the decisions these women made?
  • What are they like — characteristics, genealogy?
  • What isn’t told about these women? What is missing from their story?

Songs (10 mins)

Choose two songs to play. Take a minute between each song to meditate on the connection of each song to freedom, the Passover story and rebirth.

Closing (3 mins)

Here is a reflective piece written by Kadijah that you can use as a chant or read aloud:

The New Moon is here, Passover is coming
The moon is changing and the season of spring is upon us
We celebrate the freedom of our people
We mourn the loss of sacrifices made for freedom
May this month be full of singing and joyful noises
May this month embrace the unknown of freedom

At The Well uplifts many approaches to Jewish practice. Our community draws on ancient Jewish wisdom, sometimes adapting longstanding practices to more deeply support the well-being of women and nonbinary people. See this article’s sources below. We believe Torah (sacred teachings) are always unfolding to help answer the needs of the present moment.

Sources

The Book of Exodus, My Jewish Learning

A New Moon Service to Celebrate Freedom

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Looking for more ancient wisdom?

  • Explore the energy of this new moon
  • Tap into the wisdom of your body and heart
  • Commit to new ways to make space for yourself