A “Taste of” with Added Flavor

Ideas for how to spice up the traditional Taste of Rosh Hodesh program....

Moving Traditions generally recommends that group leaders do their Taste of Rosh Hodesh sessions the Spring before their group starts. However, I ended up doing mine just a few weeks before the first official meeting of my group. We had the meeting in one of the girls’ homes; her mom put together an elaborate ice cream sundae bar which everyone loved.

Here is what I did. I tweaked the current Taste of materials a little bit and added in some new pieces:

First, I gave everyone a chance to eat and shmooze for a while and introduced myself informally to the parents (it was all moms) and their daughters. Then, I asked everyone to sit down and I talked a little bit about what the Rosh Hodesh Program is, gave some background on me (I was new to the community, so this was the first time everyone met me), and talked about how the night would look: we would start with a few ice-breakers, move into a group activity and art project, and at the end would have more time to talk about the program itself.

  • Icebreaker: I used the icebreaker in the current Taste of (Stand up if you..) and it worked very well. I think many other icebreakers could work here. Check out this list for more ideas (I recommend any ice breakers from the “getting to know you” section).
  • Then, I divided the group up – moms in one room and girls in another. I gave each group a piece of poster board, magazines, glue, and scissors. I also gave them each a large sheet of paper on which I had written a series of fill-in- the blank phrases:
    • The girls got this sheet: When teen celebrities are in the news, the stories are usually about ___ , or ____ .  “Cool/popular” girl characters in movies and on TV often talk about ____ , look ____ , and are _____ . “Uncool/Unpopular” girl characters often talk about ___, look ____ , and are ____. Stuff on the internet and in magazines written for teen girls usually gives advice about ____, _____, and _____. The media and pop-culture makes me and my friends feel ____.
    • The moms got this sheet: When teen girl celebrities are on the news the stories are usually about ____ , or ____. “Cool/Popular girl characters in movies and on TV often talk about ____, look _____, and are _____. “Unpopular/Uncool” girl characters often talk about ____, look ____, and are ____. Magazine and internet content written for teen girls usually gives advice about ____, ____, and _____. Media/Pop culture makes me feel _____ for/about my daughter.
  • I had both groups fill out the papers (check out their responses in the photos below) and then I asked them to create a collage based on how they responded to the papers. I bounced between the two groups a bit, but mainly spent time with the girls. After about 30 minutes, I brought the group back together and asked the girls and moms to present.

Madlib for Girls Madlib for Parents

  • I skipped the “Role of Judaism in your life” activity in the interest of time and moved on to giving the group background about Rosh Hodesh, the holiday. I used a lot of the language from the current Taste of here. I explained that Rosh Hodesh was given to the women of Israel because they refused to give their jewelry to make the golden calf (an idol) and that in ancient Israel officials would set fires from hilltop to hilltop announcing the New Moon.
  • At the end I allowed time for more questions and we broke out the ice cream.

If I were to go back and do the Taste of over again, I would have made more of an effort to learn everyone’s preferred communication style (do they prefer texting? Is email best?) . I would have also tried harder to get a host signed up for the first meeting. As I will go into in later blog entries, it took a while for my group to grow in number because of conflicting sports, dance, and music recital schedules, but by the end of the year the group came together.