IJSS and Got a Lake?

Melanie Einbund

The Institute for Judaic Services and Studies (IJSS) hopes that our members and friends are looking forward to the Jewish High Holy Days.

We welcome Rabbi Laura Harari to our pulpit. The Rabbi has been preparing services that will be traditional and informative. Sarah Bolt will be returning as our cantorial soloist. We are also delighted to welcome Victoria Kinghorn, our pianist. Ms. Kinghorn is familiar with High Holy Day services and its music.

The IJSS board is excited by the changes the congregation is about to experience; and we are energized by them. Most rewarding is being able to meet in person as a congregation for both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We will be together!

IJSS is a small and hospitable congregation. Our members are central to our being. If you have questions or wish to join our congregation, contact Joan Elder at 520-360-1478 or Seth Eisner at 520-818-6340 for information.

High Holiday news will be sent to IJSS members in August.

Got a Lake?

Why a lake? Following the morning service of Rosh Hashanah, traditionally we make our way to moving water to cast our sins away. This is the ritual of Tashlich.

Tashlich is a ceremony that I have embraced for years and feel very strongly about. I began observing Tashlich as an adult. I would walk with my congregation in San Francisco to a lake, we would gather and toss our breadcrumbs into the moving water and say our prayers. I have continuously observed this tradition. Peace comes as I release the old and move forward to the new. I love what it represents, and the consolation and calm that comes to me.

Last year we couldn’t find a lake. A few of us got together with a wading pool in our front yard. We asked forgiveness using small pebbles that we tossed into the pool. This year we are looking for a lake.

Maybe as you read this article you will want to observe Tashlich. It is a powerful, poignant ritual, and the visual of letting go of the past year is beautiful.

What is Tashlich?

The word “tashlich” means to cast off and is the ancient Jewish practice of symbolically casting off one’s sins by casting them into a body of flowing water on the morning of the first day of Rosh Hashanah. No worries, if you cannot do Tashlich on the day of Rosh Hashanah, you have up until Sukkot!

Some people throw small pieces of bread, small stones, pebbles, or wildlife-friendly bird seed into the water. Doing so helps to picture the casting off of sins. But you don’t have to throw anything into the water either. You can just say your prayers and wishes by the water.

How Can I Observe Tashlich?

Think about where and when you would like to do Tashlich. Think about the ritual and what you want from it.

The High Holy Days are a time in which we seek forgiveness. Generally, we think about our actions and own up to what we have done in the past year. Looking into our behaviors truthfully and bringing self-awareness into the picture is not easy. Tashlich is a chance to relinquish some of those pieces of our life we wish to shed and look forward to the future.

So, Got a Lake? Hopefully, some of you will be able to recommend to me where I can go to a body of flowing water. If you would like to join me, contact me at [email protected]. And by all means, tell me where I can find a lake!

Shana Tova!