By Rebecca Levy
“How can I combine women’s programming and Judaism in an innovative and accessible way?”
This was a question on Ilana Gimpelevich’s mind when she stepped into the role of Adult Programming Chair for Keneseth Beth Israel (KBI) this year. There are many types of women’s programs around the Richmond and global Jewish community, and Ilana created a unique opportunity: Oreg – Reweaving Our Connections.
“Oreg”, in Hebrew, translates to “weaving”. Ilana’s idea represents that Jewish women are the fabric of our society; in order to strengthen fabric, it has to be tightly woven together; therefore, building women’s connections should strengthen our Jewish society.
Oreg encourages women to bring a friend, neighbor, sister, mother, or daughter, to enjoy the evening with friends and family. Women and girls, ages six and up, unless otherwise specified, are encouraged to attend. These events happen monthly around Rosh Chodesh (the beginning of the new month, as determined by a new moon) and feature a different craft each time.
Why have a women’s event on Rosh Chodesh?
Rosh Chodesh is a special holiday for women for two main reasons. Men contributed their jewelry to the construction of the Golden Calf, but women refused to participate in the sin, so Hashem rewarded them by giving them the celebration of Rosh Chodesh. Another opinion suggests that, just like the moon goes through a renewal cycle every month, women also experience monthly cycles of renewal, so they have a meaningful connection to the day. A few examples of how women honor the day are by having a women’s gathering with learning or by abstaining from tedious household chores.
The hour-long program begins with 5-10 minutes of Jewish learning, which connects to and sets up the night’s craft. Crafts range from book folding and drawing to paper cutting and knitting. Beginners are encouraged!
The craft leader demonstrates the activity and is then available to help throughout the night, while participants engage in both a personal and collaborative craft. No prior craft or Jewish knowledge background is needed to participate. Oreg is a casual way to hang out with friends, meet new people, and accomplish a fun activity!
For more information on upcoming Oreg events, or to get involved, please email Ilana Gimpelevich at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow KBI on social media.