014: Down to the River: Taslich and Tossing My Woes Away

Taslich is the ritual between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur of throwing paper or bread into a body of water to represent letting go of the things you don’t want to hold onto in the new year (or if you prefer, your sins). The modern equivalents don’t want to pollute, so we throw small stones.

This was a beautiful, crisp fall night on the LA river – the green part – with food, a wonderful new friend, music, guest speakers, booths, movement, and a ceremony led by Rabbi Susan Goldberg that culminates in walking down to the water in silence. We all had headsets – the glowing blue lights – to hear her and the music afterward. (Eastside Jews signature events). This is LA so this happens at the beach, too, of course! It’s also the/a first mitzvah of the new year.

The silent, solemn glow of electric blue walking down to the river was incredible. I looked up the slope to see people shuffling down in the dark. It was at once stunningly beautiful and eerie — I’d never seen a visual like that — and enveloping, hopeful, and moving, as I pondered what I was imbuing this stone with before throwing it.


I spent the evening getting to know myself better, my friend Shaun, and even my Rabbi who I managed to chat with on a brief walk. I can’t wait for this again next year, and I had a very special experience of even writing about that on-site. As a part of Rosh Hashanah (the new year) and doing your work for the year ahead, we were invited to fill out a card about what that coming year may look like. Mine’s below in the gallery.

Up next: The Yom Kippur experience with Nefesh, Shaun, some piano parents who are super rad, and the creators of Transparent

Jewish conversion, high holy days, taslich, los angeles