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Communal Tashlikh Experience - Sunday, September 20

09/14/2020 09:14:16 PM


Dear Friends,

I love tashlikh. Even though it will be different this year, we have developed a tashlikh experience that will be both safe and meaningful.

For this year we are offering a hybrid communal and Do-It-Yourself experience that we hope will be meaningful and give us all some connection to each other.  You should feel free to take part in this community Tashlikh experience on the afternoon of Sunday, September 20, the Second Day of Rosh Hashanah from 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM, when CBI staff and lay leaders will be in the parking lot to greet you, or by yourself on any day after.  

To learn more about the history and traditional ideas behind Tashlikh, feel free to read this article, courtesy of My Jewish Learning

Here are steps of our Tashlikh experience, which in total should take about an hour and a half.  Please feel free to adapt it as you wish.  Here is a link to reflections, prayers, and songs for the Tashlikh ritual.  Later this week, we will send you an email with all of the links you will need to participate in our offerings on Rosh Hashanah.

1. Start with a walk through the synagogue grounds.  This can be your “makom kavua,” your place of rootedness, where you feel your yearnings, check in with dear people, and confront the spiritual and moral questions that confound all of us.  Notice the energy of Abundance Farm, where you will see crops ready for harvest; an acknowledgment of those who lived on the land for centuries before we arrived; the spaces where we gather, pray and play.  

2. After you have walked through the synagogue grounds, walk out to Prospect Street and take a right toward Child’s Park, but stay on Prospect (the reason will be revealed in a moment).  Walk up the short hill on Prospect to the crosswalk.  Now turn around, and look back toward the synagogue.  You should see Mt. Tom in Easthampton in full view.  Take a moment of silence, and breathe in this awe-inspiring sight.  Mt. Tom, and the Holyoke range, really aren’t supposed to be here.  Mountain ranges generally run north to south, but this runs east to west, as the range was essentially dumped on our doorstep by glaciers as the ice caps retreated.  

         Take a moment to say She’he cheeyanu (blessing provided in Tashlikh link )

3. Turn left off of Prospect into Child’s park, and once you link up with the main ringed path, take a left and then your first right. You may also turn right and make your first left. In about 100 feet, you’ll come to a narrow path that takes you to the pond in Child’s Park.  If you want to walk a little more before going to the pond feel free to walk the full ring around Childs Park - it should take about 10-15 minutes.  As you do, perhaps consider the words of the biblical Book of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), “All rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is never full.”

4. Once you are at the pond, feel free to take as much time as you like to consider the pond.  It is an ecosystem unto itself, and in Spring, it becomes noisy with frogs.  Maybe there are still frogs in the pond, but I would imagine that on the leaves are the beginning signs of Autumn.  With its naturally flowing water, this can be a site to symbolically cast away all that which we regret or are trying to move beyond: quickness to anger and judgment; the penchant to criticize and miss the inherent beauty of people and creation; callousness and apathy.  And in doing so, we let in an awareness of the Hesed, the kindness and compassion that Jewish tradition promises is part of the structure of God and creation.

When you are ready, feel free to consult the sheet with blessings, prayers and songs to perform the ritual of Tashlikh, of casting away and letting in.   Here is the link again.  A reminder, as you cast your burdens away, only a few crumbs please - we don’t want to feed any animals who don’t need to be fed.  In place of crumbs, consider casting away dirt, sand or pebbles - they too scatter and sink, and do not interfere with the local ecosystem.

5. Feel free to make your way back to CBI at your own pace.  We’ll be her to greet you and wish you a good and sweet New Year.  

L'Shanah Tovah u'Metuka!


Rabbi Justin David

Mon, December 6 2021 2 Tevet 5782