Jewish women's organizations celebrate "Id Al Banat," Girl's Day

The women are mainly celebrating the history behind Book of Judith.

Id Al Banat Flyer (photo credit: Courtesy)
Id Al Banat Flyer
(photo credit: Courtesy)
'Id Al Banat', a girls' holiday traditionally celebrated on Rosh Chodesh Tevet in North African communities, recently returned to the Israeli consciousness, as part of a broad attempt to restore a piece of the Jewish world that has almost been lost.
The women are mainly celebrating the history behind Book of Judith. 
The Book of Judith tells the story of Judith, a beautiful young widow who lived in a city under the enemy command of General Holfornes. When Judith entered the enemy camp, the general was fascinated by her great beauty, and set up a feast in her honor. During the banquet, Judith got the general drunk, cut off his head and saved her townspeople.
Instead of crafting on the holiday, the young women of communities in Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Constantinople, and Thessaloniki would visit each other and share joyful encounters, according to Makor Rishon. In some communities, a bat mitzvah ceremony was held for all the girls who came of age that year. However, it is generally a "formation" of all the women of the family, where they reconcile with each other, pray together, eat dairy holiday foods together, drink wine, remember the general's drunkenness, and commemorate the dances that females participated in when Judith returned to her home with the general's head. Makor Rishon reported.
Makor Rishon added that the female custom has been a major factor in the preservation of the Jewish tradition throughout the ages, and it has maintained its power even in periods when male adherence to formal law has faded and weakened in general. However, when the various communities returned home after hundreds and thousands of years of exile, the chain of tradition was weakened and sometimes even severed. According to Makor Rishon, the reasons are well-known: the grouping of the exiles, the move to a new land and the dissolution of the community, the Israeli establishment and its call for a uniform wording, contempt and also shame in others, and the desire to be like everyone else - all contributed to the weakening of passing the tradition to the next generation.
In recent years, 'Id Al Banat' has returned to the space and penetrated the public consciousness, following initiatives by communities and individuals.  Due to the strength of the Jewish-Israeli community, and in light of the fact that the vast majority of current generations are blessed with grandparents from all walks of life aimed at bringing ancient traditions back to life, this celebration is slowly returning a heartbeat to an integral part of the lost Jewish world.