Tashlich takes place in various forms in Tidewater

by | Aug 31, 2023 | Other News

Stephanie Peck

This year celebrates the sixth, worldwide Reverse Tashlich, an effort to tackle the global pollution problem by cleaning up our waterways.

Tashlich comes from the Hebrew word, meaning “to cast.” Each Rosh Hashanah, Jews cast away their sins during the Tashlich service, often by symbolically throwing their sins (pieces of bread) into a body of water and reciting prayers of praise and repentance.

Many explanations exist as to why Jews cast away their sins into water, but one suggestion is that like fish caught in a fisherman’s net, Jews too are caught in a net of judgment. Water also represents the opportunity to cleanse the body and soul and take a new course in our lives.

This year, many area congregations will hold Tashlich on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, since the first day of the Jewish New Year falls on Shabbat. Interestingly, but not surprising, each congregation has their own style of observing the tradition. In no particular order, following are some that will take place in Jewish Tidewater:

  • Tidewater Chavurah and Temple Israel will observe Tashlich at the Lafayette River in Norfolk.
  • KBH traditionally meets at the synagogue and walks three blocks to a small stream.
  • Members of Temple Emanuel gather and walk together to the 25th Street beach.
  • Congregants of B’nai Israel and Beth El will recite Tashlich at The Hague in Ghent.
  • Instead of tossing bread as a stand-in for their sins, members of Chabad will shake their tzitzis over The Hague, symbolizing the spiritual goal of shaking sins from the soul.
  • This year celebrates the sixth, world-wide Reverse Tashlich, an effort to tackle the global pollution problem by cleaning up waterways. As an alternative to the traditional Tashlich, Ohef Sholom and Beth El will join this effort on Sunday, September 10. Repair The Sea, a global organization “where science and spirituality intersect, from a Jewish perspective,” refers to this initiative as “the global Jewish waterfront cleanup.” Since September 10 is also the first day of Religious School at Ohef Sholom, Reverse Tashlich will be a community effort (in partnership with Norfolk Beautiful) involving students, their families, and new members. Beth El will meet at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (in partnership with Lynnhaven River Now) to clean up waterways in Virginia Beach.