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Tashlich – An External Act Symbolizing an Internal Practice

Abstract

What are the significance of symbolic actions? How can the performance of a symbolic act influence the way you think or feel? In this resource, learners will take a closer look at the Rosh Hashanah custom of Tashlich (a ritual that symbolically casts away one’s sins) through the lens of a biblical verse and a contemporary prayer. Various aspects of the custom will be studied, such as  the practice of  throwing bread crumbs into a flowing body of water as well as the prayers that accompany the ritual. In addition, students will be given the opportunity to do some soul searching and to then write down some of the actions or behaviors that they would like to “cast into the sea”.

The learner will:

  1. Understand how the symbolic act of Tashlich has the capacity to impact the way one thinks and feels

  2. know why and how Tashlich is performed

  3. be able to engage in soul-searching, reflecting on their actions from the past year, and deciding which actions they would like to rid themselves of

When you click on the Jewish Education by Design resource link featured above, you will find the following educational building blocks for the creation of a lesson plan:

  1. Essential questions that get to the “heart” of the learning

  2. A hook/s to open the lesson in an engaging fashion and spark the learners’ curiosity

  3. In depth discussion questions that are designed to elicit conceptual thinking and personal reflections about the featured source/s

  4. Suggested activities that enable the students to both process and apply what was learned in a thought provoking and creative fashion

  5. A further study option/s to related materials on the JEBD site or to external links

Student handout, projector

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