After Jody’s kind introduction, we got down to business! We were sitting together just a few days after New Year’s, and so I wanted to explore the Jewish basis of the notion of New Year’s Resolutions and New Beginnings….but without re-visiting the “same old” material that we sometimes touch on during the High Holy Day season.
Something you may not know about me is that I’m something of a “space nerd.” I can’t call myself an amateur astronomer just yet (I don’t know enough astronomy!). But I love all things outer-space. And I believe that space is filled with spiritual imagery that we can easily apply to our own lives.
And so, I boldly launched into a conversation with our Fourth Graders about the monthly cycle of the moon…its journey from New Moon to Full Moon and back again. They were the unfortunate witnesses to my Mazel Tots-level artistic abilities (!) as I attempted to illustrate the lunar phases (click here for a more professional rendition!).
The point of all of this: the moon wipes its slate clean every single month. And our Tradition lifts up this astronomical phenomenon because of the ancient Jewish umbilical cord that has always existed between our calendar and the moon itself. Did you know that every New Moon in the sky corresponds to the beginning of a new month on our Hebrew calendar?
It’s not just our calendar that is connected to the moon. There’s also our Hebrew language! The Hebrew word for “month" (chodesh) is a sibling of the word for “new” (chadash).
So…the Fourth Grade and I had the chance to celebrate the arrival of 2016 together…But more importantly: we discussed the Jewish practice of measuring the passage of time by using the moon, and of embracing the constant gift of wiping the slate clean - and starting over - by resolving to be better people in the month (and year!) ahead.