The Women of the Wall adopted Rosh Chodesh, the first day of
the Jewish calendar month (dates below), to hold their prayer service at the
Wall in Jerusalem. There they gather and
pray. As the world changes and they
become better known they garner more support from some and those opposed grow
angrier. But this isn’t just about
religion, it is about (in this case) a woman’s right to be equal in prayer with
men, to pray with the Torah in hand and wear a tallit.
But if nothing else, the selection of Rosh Chodesh as their
day has made it more significant to others.
As it now resonates, American Jewish Congress announces the Rosh Chodesh
Project, which, on the first day of each Jewish month, we ask that you do
something for the betterment of others, and in turn, help all of us.
AJCongress will not institute a way to do this or specific
activities. It could be as simple as
holding a prayer service in solidarity with the Women of the Wall, it could be
volunteering at a soup kitchen or putting together a group to work in a
community garden. The idea is that we do
“this” with others, doing something reflecting shared Jewish values.
Send us photos of your project, your comments, your press
releases and tell us how others can join in.
Let us know about your progress over the course of the year and how you
and those you work with have changed.
We will feature your activities on our website
(ajcongress.org) and together build a Rosh Chodesh Project that enhances our
collective quality of life, with a Jewish perspective.
Organize with your synagogue, your place of work, your
school or university, a sports team or community organization. There are no rules, no limits and nothing is
too big or too small if it adheres to one principal, that it respects Jewish
We look forward to hearing from you and posting your efforts
on the web.
For additional information email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rosh Chodesh Dates:Month:
July 8, 2013 Av
August 6 Elul
October 4 Cheshvan
November 3 Kislev
December 3 Tevet
January 2, 2014 Sh’vat
January 31 Adar
March 2 Adar
April 1 Nisan
April 30 Iyyar
May 30 Sivan
June 28 Tamuz
July 28 Av
August 26 Elul
AJCongress At the Wall…a History of
Support for Women
A recent poll “found that 64 percent of the secular public, 53 percent of the
“traditional non-religious public,” and 26 percent of the traditional-religious
public support the group (Women of the Wall). But it was unanimously rejected by the poll’s
ultra-Orthodox respondents.” According to an article in Algemeiner, a news
In 1988, AJCongress hosted The FirstInternational Jewish
Feminist Conference:The Empowerment of Women in Israel to address women’s
rights. As part of this conference of
over 600 Jewish women from around the world, including former Congresswoman Bella Abzug and Betty Friedan, some
went to the Kotel, Torah in hand and the birth of a movement began, now known
around the world as The Women of the Wall.
AJCongress joined the Supreme Court case in Israel and has
been on the forefront of this issue from day one. Today we celebrate the successes Women of the
Wall enjoy and we stand by them as they open doors for all Jewish women and
As the American Jewish Congress itself reorganizes, making
itself more robust for a challenging world, we stand side-by-side with
the Women of the Wall. “Women’s issues
belong to all of us and this kind of activism is essential if we are to engage
future generations in Jewish life, fighting apathy and assimilation.” Stated
Jack Rosen AJCongress president. “We
have to remain on the forefront of today’s concerns if we want to leave a
legacy for those who will take on the leadership of tomorrow.”
To engage young Jews, give them a voice and encourage them
to be active in Jewish life, the American Jewish Congress has made a dramatic
departure from the past and positioned itself as a force going forward. To
address the challenges of Jewish life today, including assimilation, AJCongress
saw change was needed and has taken a giant step ahead.
At a recent Governing Council meeting, the leadership voted
unanimously for changes to the organization’s constitution. By streamlining the governance process,
setting up new operational guidelines and committee structures they have made
the organization better able to respond to the issues confronting the Jewish community. “These changes have been in the works for a
number of years” stated Governing Council chairman, Herb London, “and now that
the process has been completed we can focus on programming.”
With changes in the United States, from the demographics of
the voting public to issues of concern locally, nationally and internationally,
AJCongress recognized a need to reorganize and become a welcoming organization
for Jews looking to have an impact at home, in Washington and in Israel.
The 95-year-old organization, founded in 1918, has updated
its Bylaws, making it a more agile and responsive organization. “One reason change came slowly” said Congress
president, Jack Rosen, “is that we wanted to secure the American Jewish
Congress’ mission while building an organization able to take on current
challenges. We are ready to do that now.”
People interested in becoming involved with American Jewish
Congress should contact Robert Kesten at email@example.com.
70th Anniversary of the American Jewish Congress’s Rally at Madison Square Garden
2013 marked the 70th anniversary of the American Jewish Congress’s Rally
at Madison Square Garden. There Congress's co-founder and president
Rabbi Steven Wise, in front of New York City Mayor LaGuardia and New
York State Governor Dewey called on the world to help and protect the
Jews of Europe who were being targeted for extermination. Leading
representatives from other faiths attended as did union leaders, other
officials and much of civil society. It was a big rally that ultimately
fell on deaf ears and millions were murdered across Europe. Read more. . .