Merkos Women, Rosh Chodesh Elul 5777

Story presenter for the Month of Elul:  Raizel Ahuva Reichman.

Merkos Women held a Rosh Chodesh Women’s Circle event on Rosh Chodesh Elul, 5777 (21 August 2017).   “Sensational!” “It was absolutely wonderful to be here” and “This program will change the face of Melbourne” were some of the comments from the guests at the Merkos Women Rosh Chodesh Women’s Circle’s events.  One woman commented that the month started off on such a high and brought blessing into her life that everything she wished for that month came true.

The Gift of Rosh Chodesh by Elissa Blaser

Once a month on Rosh Chodesh, the holiday appointed to recognise the unique place of women, the Rosh Chodesh Women’s Circle offers groups of women a lovely repast, a unique Torah perspective, the opportunity to connect and, of course, the unfolding story of one family, told by one woman. The women who attend love it – the acknowledgement, the empowerment and the nurturing that this gift of Rosh Chodesh bestows upon them.

The special connection between women and Rosh Chodesh harks way back to the episode of the Golden Calf, when the women refused to surrender their jewellery for use in making the idol. The intuitive wisdom and the steadfast faith which women displayed, and still do, has earned them this beautiful gift that women hold precious to this very day.

Hashem implanted into woman the cycles and rhythms that correspond with the universe – creation and renewal on a regular basis. He also blessed her with an added facet of intelligence, bina – a deep ability to understand intuitively empowering her with great leadership abilities to ensure the survival of our people despite life’s peaks and plunges.

How often, in our lives, do we ponder the significance of the gift extended to women; an invitation from G-d to be part of creation?

The myriad details that smother daily life blinds us. Yet, the essential rhythm of life continues its beat, in its cyclical circles. It is important to step aside and look.

What is the essence of our lives?

What are we rushing to do?


At the Rosh Chodesh Women’s Circle we ponder these questions. Each month, as a woman describes her family saga, the full family story develops, from small details and incidents, into one full blown complete story, with all its wisdom. This story is videotaped so that it can be preserved for the individual family and the larger community.

Each month at the RCWC we absorb a unique family life, with its trials and tribulations, joys and triumphs. The stories often show the careful navigating that a woman accomplishes on a daily basis – nurturing, guiding, and always, always relying on the wisdom of the woman to build a home.

The deep appreciation and support that comes out of this reminds a woman of who she is, how remarkable she is and of the invisible structures that she builds each day that last to eternity.

Rosh Chodesh, a holiday for women, a monthly reminder of our special relationship with Hashem. Women, especially, have reason to celebrate this gift with feasting, nurturing and joy.

Message from Rebbetzin Sara Gutnick, President

It started with a spark, an idea, that over a period of five years blossomed at Elwood Shule into the popular and successful Rosh Chodesh Women’s CircleTM. A registered not-for-profit organisation, RCWC brings together Jewish women of all ages, stages, backgrounds and levels of observance, harmoniously connecting them through their sameness and their diversity.

The template for the program includes an inspiring message for the month, themed suppers and activities, lots of fun, laughter and friendship – all packed into a relaxing, compact and stunning program.

What is it about the Rosh Chodesh Women’s Circle that makes it so inviting, so exciting and so successful?

Could it be in the details such as how each woman is warmly greeted, dons a name tag and is introduced to each other, or how the depth of the messages of each month celebrates and strengthens the uniqueness of the Jewish woman, or even how the theme surprises and delights at every event?

The delicious spread of food artfully presented and creatively matched to the month is a factor too. But there must be more. Indeed, it is the fascinating slices of history and the soul journeys described in the personal stories presented at every event and videotaped for lasting mementoes that beautifully ties it all together – creating a unique package that inspires warmth, discovery and appreciation.

The Rosh Chodesh Women’s Circle Program can be implemented in your Shule, organisation, group, or even business and we invite you to peruse this Handbook to discover how this can be achieved. This part of the Handbook together with the other sections, the Monthly Program guide and the total RCWC package will facilitate the smooth adaptation of the Program for your group.

Message from Elissa Blaser, Founding Sponsor

First, let me thank Hashem and the Gutnick family for the gift of being able to be involved in this project. It seems that all accomplishments take great effort. Rebbetzin Sara is our ballerina, spinning and spinning, in what seems to be effortless grace. Of course, only years of discipline and training allow for this.

They say three generations of ancestors come to each Jewish wedding. I wonder how many generations of mothers come to the Rosh Chodesh Women’s Circle gatherings to share and “shep naches” over their beautiful daughters. Each Jewish family is a huge accomplishment. It evolves with great skill and patience, and, of course, the secret ingredient: “chochmat nashim banta bayta” – “the wisdom of women builds a home”.

On Rosh Chodesh we gather together to support each other, encourage each other, celebrate each other. In every generation, family by family, we build the generation. Ever mindful of the profound task given to each and every one of us, we look for Divine help, always. We need prayer to accomplish such a big task. We also look to our leaders, our Rabbis and Rebbetzins to help guide us. I look to Rabbi Mordechai and Rebbetzin Sara Gutnick for inspiration and direction.

Each month, wherever we are in the world, we see the same moon as it evolves. Let us belong to Rosh Chodesh Women’s Circle. On Rosh Chodesh, when we see that sliver of a new moon, let us remember and remind each other of the privilege of being a Jewish woman, of the responsibility to our families, and of the simple fact that G-d has entrusted us with such a noble mission.