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New Year at the Pier
Happy New Year!  Shana Tova!


I didn’t know what Tashlich was a few years ago.  Now it’s my favorite tradition!

Tashlich in a nutshell:

During Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, Jews are encouraged to reflect on their mistakes of the past year.

You can’t simply say “I’m sorry” to the sky–or even to God–and be done.  To get your house in order for the new year, you’re encouraged to make direct amends to the people you have harmed.

Then, many participate in the ceremony of Tashlich (“casting away”).  We walk to a body of water, sing psalms, and toss pieces of stale bread into the water.  Each piece of bread represents something we regret doing in the past year.

Because I live near the sea, I get to toss my “mistakes” off our pier and into the ocean.  It can remind us to make amends. But mostly, it is a way of letting go, of creating a clean slate for the coming year.

L’shanah tovah! For a Good Year!”

When is Tashlich?
Tashlich varies every year, according to the Hebrew calendar. It’s usually on the first day of Rosh Hashanah.

Ideally the body of water has fish it.  Why?  Because:

  • Just as fish are protected by water, people are protected by God.
  • Fish have no eyelids so their eyes are always open, as God’s eyes are ever-watchful.
  • Fish can be caught suddenly in a net, just as people can fall suddenly into the net of sin.
  • The Kabbalah teaches that water symbolizes kindness.

Here’s a clearly written short article on tashlich as spiritual housekeeping by Rabbi Randy Kafka.  And here’s a terrific blog post about tashlich by a blogger called Jew-Wishes.

For more information, try searching “What is Tashlich?” in Google.
For more pictures of Tashlich, go to Google Images and search “Tashlich”.

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