What is Tashlich?
The word tashlich means "to cast/throw", and is symbolic of self-purification. On Rosh Hashanah it is a tradition to throw bread crumbs into a river or stream (or body of water, preferably one with fish in it) to symbolically cast sins into the water. This custom dates back to at least the 14th century, based on the Book of Micah: "Who is like You, God, who forgives sins and overlooks transgressions for the survivors of Your people; He does not retain His anger forever, for He loves kindness; He will return and show us mercy, and overcome our sins, and You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins" (Micah 7:18-20).
Temple Emanu-El traditionally holds a Tashlich picnic at Reid Park by the big lake. For details on this year's programming, click here.
What is Kever Avot?
Kever Avot (literally, the Graves of our Ancestors) is the custom of visiting the graves of loved ones between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Jews meet at community cemeteries to participate in a brief service honoring our departed loved ones and their memories. Cantorial Soloist Marjorie Hochberg explains:
Historically, Kever Avot was a mostly superstitious occasion prompted by the fear of death. Jews would take advantage of the auspicious timing before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when the Book of Life was open and God's judgement was open to argument, to ask their departed loved ones to intercede on their behalf and make sure that their names were recorded for another year of life. In our time, Kever Avot is not so much about soliciting heavenly intervention as about reconnecting with our personal history and honoring those who shaped it.