At Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year), Tashlich Offers New Possibilities

Tashlich is a Jewish ceremony that takes place during the days between Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) and Kom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). It is traditionally observed alongside a body of running water where crumbs of bread are thrown into the water symbolizing the casting away of one’s sins from the previous year.

This year, besides the introspective process of identifying your own sins, it is important to look at the sins of our society; the divisiveness, the prejudices, bigotry and judgment, the shootings, the hatred, the lack of tolerance and acceptance especially towards immigrants, and more. We need to cast those sins down the river as well in a symbolic gesture of our collective commitment to bring us all together in peace, harmony and love and to fight against those things that continue to plague our society.

The following is a poem about Tashlich in observance of this important tradition. Shana Tova, Happy New Year, Feliz Año Nuevo – to a sweet new year, a un dulce año nuevo.

Los Angeles River, Photo by Steve Karbelnig, all rights reserved


Sin, who me?

Nah, those weren’t sins.

Or were they?

What’s a sin anyway?

Something I did wrong?

Was I wrong? 

Did I judge?

Did I hurt someone?

Or myself?

Well maybe a little.

Or maybe a lot.

Just forget about it.

Who cares anyway?

But it’s bothering me.

A little.

A lot.

So now what?


A weird word.

I’ve heard about it.

Casting crumbs down the river.

Representing my sins.

Or something like that.

Maybe I should.

But who’s got time.

I’ve got some bread.

In the freezer.

That’ll work.

Off to the river.

Here I am

Standing by the river.

The water is rushing.

There’s a lots of crumbs

More than my sins.

I hope.

I throw a few in.

Some ducks swim over

And eat my crumbs.  

They fly away.

Far into the sky.

With my crumbs

In their bellies

With my sins.

Far away from me.