10 Sep 2023 • Worldwide
ANCIENT JEWISH TRADITION
CASTING AWAY SINS IN WATER
Reverse Tashlich is an innovative environmental practice that reimagines the traditional Jewish ritual of Tashlich to confront the modern issue of pollution. Tashlich, traditionally observed during the High Holidays, involves symbolically casting away sins or transgressions into a body of water, seeking forgiveness and a fresh start for the upcoming year.
In Reverse Tashlich, the symbolism is transformed to address a contemporary environmental concern—plastic and marine debris pollution. Instead of casting away sins, participants come together to remove these harmful pollutants from the water, fostering a sense of responsibility and stewardship for the environment.
During a Reverse Tashlich ceremony, individuals gather at a waterfront location and actively engage in cleaning up the surrounding area. Armed with gloves, bags, and other necessary equipment, participants comb the shores, collect plastic waste, and remove other debris that pose a threat to marine life and ecosystems.
This practice combines the spiritual reflection and renewal associated with Tashlich with the tangible act of environmental conservation. As participants remove plastic and marine debris, they reflect upon their own consumption patterns and how they can make sustainable choices to minimize their impact on the environment.
Reverse Tashlich promotes a collective sense of environmental responsibility, encourages awareness of the detrimental effects of pollution, and inspires action to preserve and protect our natural resources. By actively participating in this waterfront cleanup, individuals express their commitment to creating a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable world.
Incorporating Reverse Tashlich into the observance of the High Holidays allows individuals to connect their spiritual and ethical values with environmental stewardship, fostering a deeper sense of interconnectedness with the natural world and promoting positive change for the years to come.
Reverse Tashlich is a new tradition open to all Jews and interfaith allies.