In honor of Women’s History Month (recognized annually during the month of March), we are spotlighting Jewish women from the past and present! This writing is an excerpt from SHJ’s 2019 book Here Is Our Light: Humanistic Jewish Holiday and Life-Cycle Liturgy for Inspiration and Reflection, and is written by SHJ Rabbi, Miriam Jerris.
CUP OF MIRIAM
The legends of our Rabbinic sages teach us that a miraculous well of healing waters accompanied the children of Israel throughout their journey in the desert, providing them with water. This well was given to Miriam, the prophetess, to honor her bravery and devotion to the Jewish people. According to the legend, both Miriam and her well provided comfort and gave our forbearers the faith and confidence to overcome the hardships of the Exodus. We fill Miriam’s cup with water to honor her contribution to the Jewish people. Like Miriam, Jewish women in all generations have been essential for the continuity of our people. Women passed down songs and stories, rituals and recipes, from mother to daughter, from generation to generation. Let us each fill the cup of Miriam with water from our own glasses, so that our children may continue to draw from the strength and wisdom of our heritage. We place Miriam’s cup on our Seder table to honor the important and often unrecognized role of Jewish women in our tradition and history, to tell their stories that have been too sparingly told.