Friday, December 23, 2022



Eid Al-Banat is a festival related to the New Moon of the month of Tevet. The Rosh Chodesh Tevet is the Rosh Chodesh of the banot (daughters in Hebrew). This New Moon is especially associated with Jewish girls; although all New Moons have a general association with women, this particular day is known as Chag Ha’Banot (the Festival of the Daughters of Israel), Daughters' Day or in Arabic: [Eid Al-Banat], in French: Fête des Filles.

It is a holiday celebrated mainly by some of the Jewish communities in the Middle East, especially in the Maghreb (North Africa), on Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) of the Jewish month of Tevet, and it always coincides with the seventh day of the Chanukah Jewish holiday.

The Jewish community where this holiday was best preserved in Tunisia. But there is also evidence that it was also celebrated in the Jewish communities of Libya, Algeria, Kushta, Morocco, and also Thessaloniki (Thessaloniki).


The festival of Eid Al'Banat or Rosh Chodesh La' Banot, on the 1st of the Hebrew month of Tevet, was kept in Tunisia and on the island of Djerba, where it is believed that the Kohanim of the Beit Ha'Mikdash, the Temple priests. The Jewish inhabitants of the Island of Djerba preserved many ancient traditions just like this one. And as already mentioned above this holiday is celebrated by women in numerous other Jewish communities throughout the Middle East and is linked to various events throughout Jewish history.

The Book of Esther tells us that it was specifically in the month of Tevet, that Queen Esther had been crowned as queen in the Persian kingdom (Iran); therefore, many of the practices of Rosh Chodesh La'Banot (Eid Al-Banat) are similar to those of the Jewish holiday of Purim.

The Rosh Chodesh (the New Moon) of the month of Tevet always coincides with the seventh day of Chanukah, which according to various traditions, the miracle of Chanukah is closely linked to one or more women. Chanukah is especially linked to the heroic stories of Yehudit and Chana (Grace), the daughter of Matitiahu Ben Yochanan, the Cohen Gadol.

In addition, there are those who relate this holiday to the story of Yiftach's daughter, and to the expulsion of alien women during the time of Ezra the Scribe;

and there are those who attribute the holiday to the history of other heroic women, such as Debora, Yael, Zera, daughter of Asher, Chana the one with seven children, and Bruria, the wife of Rabbi Meir.


The Rambam, the great Moses Ben Maimon comments about Megillat Esther, about what Queen Esther said: "I and my maidens will also observe the same fast" - My maidens? Yes, there were Jewish maidens freed by the queen; which, without a doubt, had been under the heavy yoke of the queen before Esther. It is believed that the wicked Vashti, the daughter of the wicked, forced them to work on Shabbat. As Esther said: "They and I will join in the fasting of all Israel."

Another similarity that Eid Al-Banat has with the Purim Festival is the tradition of sending cookies from one home to another, similar to the Mishloach Manot. Some other traditions are drinking wine, and another is giving to children in need, similar to Matanot La'Evyoním.


Because the Eid Al-Banat holiday falls on the seventh day of Chanukah; Therefore, it is the precise moment to remember the connection with the heroine Yehudit and with Jana Bat Matityahu (the granddaughter of Yochanan, the Cohen Gadól of the second temple in Jerusalem).

Although the Sefer Yehudit, the book of Judith, was not canonized in the Tanakh, that book, the Hebrew version of which has been lost, tells the story of the heroine Yehudit who killed Holofernes, the general of the Greek army. Tunisian tradition tells that this story happened exactly on Rosh Hodesh (the New Moon) of Tevet; and that is why, in Tunisia, its importance is marked by the celebrations of Eid Al' Banat.

According to Mizheyna Cohen from Djerba, Eid Al' Banat "is like a memorial to Yehudit, who with his heroic strength had saved Jerusalem and the Jewish kingdom." And therefore, there is a tradition of also eating dairy products during the Eid Al-Banat festivities.

The general story is as follows: (taken from "A Greek commander, named Holofernes, had led his army to put down a revolt that was starting in Jerusalem. The Greek forces camped around the city walls and began a prolonged siege. Although Jerusalem was a well-fortified city, the relentless siege by a superior army began to take a heavy toll on the citizens of the city. A widow named Yehudit left the city and asked for an audience with the commander. She has also brought cheeses and wine. Her plan was to seduce him and then kill him. Her plan succeeded.

The commander gave a banquet in honor of Yehudit and got pretty drunk. That same night, the commander and Yehudit retired to his private tent, where he soon fell into a deep sleep. And while he slept, Yehudit took his sword and beheaded him. Yehudit then left the camp, taking the commander's head back to Jerusalem, where his head was hung on the city walls for all to see. The Jews were greatly inspired by Yehudit's daring heroism, and the Greek forces withdrew. It was a key turning point in the Jewish revolt against the Greeks."

Finally, the New Moon (Rosh Chodesh) of Tevet commemorates the anniversary of the death of Abraham Avinu, the first Jew, the number 1 father of the Jewish nation. May his memory be a great blessing!


Ribono Shel Olam, Kol Yachol; Oh Eternal, our God, and God of our Forefathers and Matriarchs of blessed memories, may we Merit that miracles, signs, and great wonders be performed like the ones you did for our ancestors. We thank you, O Eternal, our God for the miracles, for the redemption, for the wonders, for the acts of salvation, and for the wonderful acts that you did for our ancestors in those days, in this time of Chanukah.

May the final Geula (Redemption) be fulfilled today in our days and in our lives, just as you fulfilled it in the days of Matityahu, the son of Yochanan, the Cohen Gadol (the High Priest), the Hasmonean and the children of the! May redemption also be fulfilled with us, as you did with the Maccabees when the evil Hellenic government had risen up against Your people Israel to make them forget Your Torah and to make them violate the decrees of Your will!

However, you, in your abundant mercies, supported them in the time of their distress.

Deliver us today, as you delivered them in their battles, just as you defended them with their rights, and take revenge as you took revenge for the damage they had done to them!

May the following saying be fulfilled in us: "You delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the impious into the hands of the Tzadikim (the righteous) and the rampant sinners into the hands of those who occupied themselves with your Torah!

Sanctify your name, make fame to your great name once again like the one you made for yourself with the Chasmoneans, magnify your great name, and show the world how distinguished and holy your name is, do with us just as you carried out a colossal liberation and redemption for your people Israel, known and noteworthy to this day.

May Your children now enter the sanctuary of Your chosen House, purify the place of Your Temple, purify Your Sanctuary now, may the great golden Menorah be lit now in Your sacred courts, and may we merit to see the days of Chanukah of the Third Temple, to give thanks and praises to Your Holy and great Name.