Tashlich, which literally translates to “casting off,” is a ceremony performed on the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashanah. During this ceremony, Jews symbolically cast off the sins of the previous year by tossing pebbles or bread crumbs into flowing water. During this ritual, people think of things they’ve done wrong in the past year and then “throw them away,” promising for improvement in the coming year.
Kids can easily grasp the ideas of wanting to do better and saying "sorry," so including them in a simple, age-appropriate tashlich ceremony is a great way to build understanding about the ritual while building a fun family tradition.
Many of the ideas in the list below are great for children ages four and up. If your children are too young to remember mistakes or make a list of them, you can help write a simple list, and let them focus on the fun of the "washing away" part of the activity.
USE BATH CRAYONS
Use bath crayons to write or draw things you are sorry about in the tub and then wash them away. Again, if your kids are too young to verbalize or recognize things that they are sorry for, you can do the writing or drawing for them and then let them do the part -- washing away the writing.
GRAB THE SIDEWALK CHALK
Make a short list together and write it out in sidewalk chalk. Then, fill up some water balloons, or use the hose, to "erase" the words and sentences in the list. You'll be left with beautiful, and temporary, rainbow streaks on your driveway or sidewalk.
FILL UP THE KIDDIE POOL
Don’t have running water near your home? Instead use whatever you have around, like a kiddie pool or even a bowl or tub of water. While having a discussion about tashlich’s values, have your children write/draw some of their transgressions on pieces of white copy paper in washable marker. Float the papers in the water and have them watch as their sins and mistakes disappear.
READ A STORY
The following picture books offer easy to understand explanations of tashlich along with some extra ideas for family or community ceremonies.
Recommended for children 3 to 5 years old
Beni loves getting together with family on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year -- if only it weren’t for his mischievous cousin, Max. Max is making trouble for everyone! But Grandpa has a few words of wisdom about starting off the New Year right.
Recommended for children 5 to 7 years old
In this contemporary story, Izzy finds it difficult to apologize for a certain mistake, until the Rosh Hashanah tashlich service gives him new understanding.
Recommended for children 7 to 8 years old
On Rosh Hashanah, many families participate in tashlich, a tradition of throwing bread crumbs into water to wash away the mistakes of the past year. But this family has their own spin on tashlich -- and it takes place at Turtle Rock.
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September 6, 2017