This is an archive of public readings selected for, or relevant to, Rosh haShanah la-Behemah, the Jewish New Year’s Day for Domesticated Animals (Behemot), celebrated on Alef b’Elul, the first day of the month of Elul in the Jewish calendar. The day is one of the four New Year’s day festivals (Rosh Hashanot) in the Jewish calendar as explained in the Mishnah (Seder Moed Rosh Hashanah 1:1). During the Second Temple period, this was a day on which shepherds determined which of their mature animals were to be tithed for offerings. The day coincides with Rosh Ḥodesh Elul, exactly one month before Rosh Hashanah.
Beginning in 2009, the festival began to be revived by Jewish animal protection advocates and environmental educators to raise awareness of the mitsvah of tsar baalei ḥayim (obligating not causing undue suffering of any living creature), the source texts informing Jewish ethical relationships with domesticated animals, and the lived experience of animals impacted by human needs, especially in the industrial meat industry.
Looking for something else?
For prayers composed for, or relevant to, Rosh haShanah la-Behemah, go here.
For an overview of Rosh haShanah la-Behemah, find this article on Wikipedia.
For an introduction and deep dive into the history and cultural context of this day, past and present, find this sourcesheet by Aharon Varady on Sefaria.
For Rosh haShanah la’Behemah seder haggadot, please visit here.
For prayers composed for Rosh Ḥodesh Elul, visit here.