New Moon Medicine with Sarah Waxman

Chodesh Tov!

What does that mean? It means tonight begins a new month in the Hebrew calendar! There’s a holiday called Rosh Chodesh at the start of each month, to celebrate the reappearance of the moon. It is known as a time for women to gather and study together.

In the spirit of Rosh Chodesh, we spoke with Sarah Waxman, founder of At The Well, an organization that supports women coming together around Rosh Chodesh to listen and be heard, to support each other, reflect, and learn. At The Well has supported the formation and sustained gathering of hundreds women’s Well Circles, all over the world.

We were interested to hear from Sarah what her experience has been, living between two calendars, in her life and work. So, I (Amanda) went ahead and asked her. Here’s a recap of our conversation:

When I started a Well Circle of my own, I had to look through multiple sources to figure out when the new month started to schedule our first few meetings. I end up looking it up for our group every month. I asked Sarah how she navigates between the Gregorian and Hebrew calendar currently. Like many of us, her work life is based on the Gregorian calendar and her spiritual life is on the Hebrew one. Sarah noted, “Because I work for a Jewish wellness company, I get to dance between the two. I am really grateful I have a system of time directly focused for my soul and that helps me feel a range of emotions and to make moments holy. Also, I’m SO glad they have this option on my phone to have the calendars next to each other all the time.”

I agree, phones are great and technology has helped us integrate previously conflicting systems. What I wasn’t finding, which inspired The Jewish Planner, was a space to not only have the dates on hand, but to help me learn Jewish wisdom and connect with natural cycles.  I’ve found that coming into the seasonal rhythms of the Jewish calendar and themes for each month influence how I approach things at work and in my life. This month, knowing it’s Adar, I’ve been sending more silly videos and jokes to my board members and out on my lists, we’re at the end of winter and need to loosen up, stop taking things so seriously! That’s not something that happens when we look at HebCal or our phone calendar.

How do you think the Jewish way of keeping time influences your approach to leadership? “I am more interested in making moments holy and special than almost anything else. We have time and we have love. There seems to be a feeling of limitedness of both. I think Judaism is saying, we have expansive time and love, but it is how you shape these moments. Also, don’t work on Shabbat. Its, like, a thing.”

I feel you on the Shabbat vibe, Sarah. Having that weekly chance to step back, and appreciate what’s going on in my life is a total game-changer. In addition to Shabbat, she added, I want to give people access to spiritual time. If we do not know what time it is, how can we understand our ancestors or even our future generations. I love that what links me to all of the time is that in Adar I am commanded to feel joy and in Elul I am commanded to forgive….etc. It helps me live a whole life.”

Amen to that. We feel alignment with the work of At The Well, as both of our projects work to connect people with ways to live their lives wholly and authentically in line with Jewish spiritual time. We are so grateful for your work, Sarah, the At The Well team, and all of our supporters who see how important this work is right now on earth.

If you want to know more about Rosh Chodesh or how to start your own Well Circle, check out At The Well.