This coming Friday evening at sundown marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah (Head of the Year) starts the New Year in the Jewish calendar. During this holiday and the days leading up to Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), Jews are encouraged to reflect on the year past. We take stock of ourselves and take time to examine our own faults and shortcomings.
A Jewish custom coincides with this self-reflective spiritual exercise. Tashlich (“casting off”) is the practice of symbolically getting rid of one’s sins. During Tashlich, Jews are asked to walk to a large flowing water source (a creek, river, or large lake) and empty their pockets, to figuratively cast off our sins. Small breadcrumbs or bird seed is commonly placed in the pockets to be thrown. This practice is not mentioned in the Torah but has become a long-standing custom in Judaism.
As we move into this new academic year, this ritual of letting go and moving forward holds special significance. In beginning autumn, and facing the next stage of our COVID journey together, how can we take stock of where we have been and where we are going? What are some positive things you are looking forward to with this new season and academic year? What are some things you might be ready to “cast off” and leave behind? Do you have your own way of “cleansing” or “renewing” yourself to begin again?
Reflection by: Matthew Charnay, Jewish Life Coordinator, Division of Mission and Ministry
Jewish High Holiday Services – DePaul University
All students, staff, and faculty of the DePaul community are invited free-of-charge to attend our fun, engaging and fully virtual High Holiday Services. For more information, visit: https://tinyurl.com/Depaulhighholidays2020