Rosh Hashanah: Beyond Apples & Honey

Rosh Hashanah began last night at sundown and many people have asked me about some of the traditions of the holiday. Generally, people know that it’s the Jewish New Year and that we eat certain foods like apples and honey. But most don’t know about the ritual of Tashlich – the symbolic casting away of one’s sins.

Tashlich is perfect for outdoorsy Restonians because it’s basically a nature walk near a body of water. My family will be hiking along Lake Audubon this year. First, each person will share a positive experience or accomplishment from the previous year. Next, we’ll choose something we want to forget or cast off from the previous year and toss a piece of bread into the water. The bread represents the physical act of letting go so that we may move into the new year with a clean slate. Lastly, we’ll each share a goal or promise for the upcoming year.

Tashlich is quite cathartic and easy enough for a 4 year-old to understand and participate. No matter what religion you are, this ceremony is a beautiful way to honor the New Year — be it 5775 or 2015.

L’Shana Tova!