5: Novel excerpt, Anita Diamant's "The Red Tent," 1997.
Anita Diamant (b. 1951) is a journalist, novelist, and Jewish ritual innovator. Her first novel, The Red Tent, reimagines the narratives of matriarchs in the Bible, told from women’s perspectives that are marginalized in the Biblical text. The Red Tent was a bestseller, embraced by book clubs and women’s groups for its message of women’s empowerment. In the novel, Diamant describes a new moon ritual centered on a celebration of women’s menstruation and the power of women’s bodies. Linking life cycles and menstrual cycles with calendrical and lunar cycles, Diamant finds beauty and power in parts of the biological experience of womanhood that have long been considered shameful or ugly.
Suggested Activity: Have your students read the passage and discuss: How does the practice described in this passage relate to the Rosh Chodesh practices described in other resources in this kit? Does this ritual share any common roots or goals with the traditional Rosh Chodesh rituals? Why does Diamant link the moon with women’s bodies, and in what ways do you think this linkage might be empowering for some women?
Source: Anita Diamant, The Red Tent (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2010), 118.