Jewish children take part in annual Tashlich ritual
BY BILL SHERMAN World Religion Writer
Friday, September 21, 2012
9/21/12 at 5:19 AM
Several dozen Jewish children cast bread into the Arkansas River Thursday morning, part of the ancient ritual of Tashlich, traditionally observed during the Jewish High Holy Days, the 10-day period from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur.
Tashlich is a custom dating to the 14th century, and probably much earlier, according to Alin Torianyk, an Israeli who led the annual observance for the children of the Mizel Jewish Community Day School.
Casting the bread on the water symbolizes casting away sin, she said.
The bread will be eaten by fish that have no eyelids, reminding the Jewish people that God's eyes are constantly open, watching over the Jewish people.
Fish, which are caught in nets, are a reminder that humans will be caught in the net of judgment for life or death, thoughts that should lead a person to repentance, she said.
To start the ritual, several children blew the shofar, a ram's horn.
As the children threw the bread, they confessed their sins and asked for forgiveness.
Lucas Markman, 7, said he was sorry for telling a classmate he had bad handwriting.
Others said they were sorry for "hitting my brother," ... "kicking someone in the shin," ... and "everything."
Before the ritual, students had written their sins on small bits of paper in ink. They put the papers into bowls of water, and watched the water wash away the writing.
They recited the Tashlich prayer, casting away the sin of deception, "so that we will mislead no one in word or deed, or pretend to be what we are not," and also the sins of vain ambition, stubbornness, envy, selfishness, indifference, pride and arrogance.
Sandi Tilkin, director of the school, said the adults in Tulsa's synagogues had performed the ritual earlier.
"It's a time of renewal associated with the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah)," she said.
"People say what they want to change in their lives."
The Mizel students come to the Arkansas River each year for the ritual.
Original Print Headline: Children take part in Tashlich ritual
Bill Sherman 918-581-8398
Students at the Mizel Jewish Community Day School blow the shofar Thursday morning during the annual Tashlich ritual at the Pedestrian Bridge. BILL SHERMAN /Tulsa World