My husband and I don’t belong to a synagogue, but we still want to celebrate Jewish holidays with our family and friends. Being in an interfaith marriage and having a group of friends from many backgrounds, we’re always looking for new, inclusive ways to celebrate and connect with our community. We love spending time outdoors, especially walking around the pond where we live near Boston. Having a body of water near us often brings us back to the present moment. And water is important for one Rosh Hashanah ritual.
Tashlich is a ritual during Rosh Hashanah that offers us a space to transition into the Jewish New Year by letting go of things from the past. We wanted to find a fun way to practice this ritual with a group of friends who aren’t all Jewish (and to avoid feeding “junk food,” aka bread, to the ducks). Thinking creatively about this tradition led us to using sidewalk chalk to write down the things we want to let go of going into the new year. Most important, we wanted the experience to be accessible, fun and comfortable for anyone to do. Here’s what it looked like:
We are present in this moment.
Help us let go of shortcomings from the past year.
As we wash away the words below, relief will follow.
Help us move from the past to the present as the new year begins.
Keep us grateful and present today and in the year ahead.
If you don’t have a body of water near you or you’d prefer to stay indoors, here are some other ways to celebrate:
Walking back to our house afterwards, we talked deeply about what we want the upcoming year to look like–our hopes, dreams and aspirations. We talked about continuing this feeling of being present in our communities and celebrating our uniqueness while honoring our heritage and traditions. This Rosh Hashanah ritual brought us closer together and we already started planning gatherings for the year ahead.