While preparing the Rosh Chodesh Guide for Cheshvan, I learned that several really amazing women’s yartzheits fall during this month. A traditional one that many may be familiar with is Rachel Emeinu, Rachel the Matriarch. I’ve posted rituals for observing her yarzheit in the past. But this year I learned that several modern Jewish women’s yarzheits are also during this month.
Cheshvan is a month where we get to “rest” from all the holidays of Tishrei and get back to the work of life again. I guess that’s not really restful, but it’s also a great time to honor women’s stories. Even the Torah portions of the month feature women.
Last night I spent dancing with the ancestors (I do hope they like trance-dance music), at Becoming’s Samhain ritual. While not my holiday, if my Pagan friends can come and participate and find meaning in my Rosh Hashanah ritual, why can’t I do the same with their high holiday?
To get you started here are resources to learn about several amazing Jewish women who died during the month of Cheshvan.
Emma Lazarus is most famous for her poem which is found on the Statue of Liberty, but there is so much more to her story than just that.
Hannah Senesh is another of the amazing Jewish women whose yarzheit is celebrated in Cheshvan. She is a true hero of World War II and an amazing poet. Her life and diary will astound you.
Anzia Yezierska is a writer who chronicled the lives of Jewish immigrants in her novel Bread Givers.
The yahrzeit of Rachel Imeinu is also celebrated in Cheshvan on the 11th, which just passed. The observation of this has grown much more common with the growth of feminist Judaism. RK’Jill Hammer has several posts on her site about this. Here’s a link to a recent one: http://telshemesh.org/hp/our_mother_rachel_and_mother_earth.html I’ve also posted simple rituals for observing this or other ancestral yahrzeits.