Tashlich Offers Families Ritual of Renewal, Time to Bond with Nature

by Stacey Battat, PJ Library Professional

As the Jewish New Year approaches, the Days of Awe offer us a ”clean slate” opportunity to look at our lives and our relationships with new vision. Tashlich, traditionally practiced on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, gives us a ritual to let go of transgressions and to teach our children that we always have the chance to start anew.

Tashlich also helps us bond with nature. The custom is to walk quietly and in reflection of what habits, behaviors and actions have not served us and to throw these into any moving body of water symbolically, usually with breadcrumbs. The water washes the crumbs away, and with it, our mistakes. The PJ Library book, “Sammy Spider’s First Yom Kippur” teaches us how to speak with children about this concept. The book offers discussion starters and activities for the family:

  • Look through books (even watch movies, television) and ask – what is wrong in this situation and who needs to say they are sorry?
  • Put on a puppet show to act out situations. Have your child be the “voice” of some of the animals and practice saying “I am sorry” and “I forgive you.”
  • Help your child remember a time that s/he made a mistake or hurt some one’s feelings. Together, reflect on how your child could have handled that situation differently, and how they felt afterward. Recognize that a genuine “I am sorry” can be hard to say.
  • If your child remembers a wrongdoing and has not yet apologized, together, you can make an “I’m sorry” card.

PJ Library will host a Tashlich nature hike, open to all, on Sunday, Sept. 24, from 3-4 p.m. at the Blue Trails in Woodbridge. Temple Emanuel’s Rabbi Michael Farbman will join us with his mini-guitar for the short walk to the water, which is accessible to most (wheels may be difficult). We will meet at the Woodbridge Town Hall parking lot, 11 Meetinghouse Lane, for snacks and a story, and leave for the short hike at around 3:15 p.m. RSVPs are appreciated.

On Sept. 21, at 2:30 p.m., families are welcome to join Temple Beth Tikvah for a PJ Library story and short family musical service with shofar blasts on the beach at 60 Soundview Ave. in Madison.

We hope your reflection and renewal time brings light, joy, good health and the spark of Jewish life into your lives in the coming year. Happy New Year. L’Shana Tova t’katevu!


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