Jewish New Year and Tashlich at the River

We celebrated the Rosh Hashanah or the Jewish New Year this week with a visit to synagogue to pray and hear the shofar, a delicious apple cake modified from the Smitten Kitchen (ok, very modified), and tashlich at the river.

Tashlich is the ritual of throwing bits of bread in the water while recounting things you are sorry about on or shortly after Rosh Hashanah.  You can find an official description from Chabad here.   It has always been one of my favorite rituals, because it is personal, hands-on, and takes place outdoors. We went down to the local Patuxant River on a perfect fall afternoon to toss bread and think about our mistakes.

This was the first year that our 5 year old basically understood the concept of tashlich.  He threw bread in the water for fighting with his sister, throwing things when he was mad and going to “too wild” with a friend from school.  He even dug way back to some things that happened when he was 3 and 4 years old (back in the days he threw bread at tashlich just for the fun of throwing bread).

My favorite part was watching his personal spin on tashlich. Each time he threw the bread he said, “I forgive myself for…”.   I am not sure what you are supposed to say exactly but I usually just say, “for not listening, for losing patience,” etc. He added, “I forgive myself” which seems like a great place to start and for some of us can be the hardest part of forgiving.  In fact, earlier that day while he was downstairs in the children’s room, someone at synagogue spoke about the importance of forgiving ourselves as part of our preparation for Yom Kippur, so it was timely too.

We finished by all throwing in larger chunks for my annual catch all “for the things we are not remembering to name,” and watched the bread drift downstream toward the sea before setting off on a very short nature walk.

Thanks for reading! Happy Fall Equinox, Happy New Year if you are celebrating and Happy Birthday to my big sister (and the world)!


  1. I love it! “I forgive myself for…” If your kids can grow up learning to shed shame, the whole world will be moving in the right direction. Thanks for sharing. Happy new year!

  2. so sweet! Happy New Year to you!

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