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At Tashlich, we begin the new year symbolically casting off last year’s sins by tossing pebbles or bread crumbs into a body of water. This year, we are taking part in “Reverse Tashlich,” and will be cleaning up stream beds in Frick Park, thereby removing human “sins” from the water.

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Time & Location:

Oct 02, 2022, 5:00 PM

Frick Park, Pittsburgh, PA 15217, USA


For thousands of years, in a ritual called Tashlich, Jews around the world have symbolically cast their sins into a body of water on the Rosh Hashanah. While the few crumbs we toss into rivers and streams does not likely have a significant impact on the ecosystem, it can be understood as problematic. Humans, as we know, have literally been throwing our sins, trash and debris into bodies of water for millennia. This practice is in direct conflict with a fundamental ethical belief in Judaism: Bal Tashchit – Do Not Destroy, based on the mitzvah in Deuteronomy 20:19-20 which says it is forbidden to cut down fruit trees in a time of war. The Babylonian Talmud later expanded that mitzvah to include all forms of senseless damage or waste. Today, the destruction of the ocean and waterways of the world through pollution, single-use plastic products, and simple carelessness represent a blatant violation of the ethical principle of Bal Tashchit.

In essence, we have shown that we can cast sins in; this Rosh Hashanah let us come together to take them out.

Join Rodef Shalom Congregation, Tikkun HaYam, and Jewish communities around the world for a Reverse Tashlich -  a new ritual that calls us not to ‘cast away our sins’, but to express our care and concern for the marine environment by cleaning up the waterways in our community.

On Sunday, October 2nd at 4 pm we will meet in Frick Park, in the parking lot by the soccer fields. Be sure to wear clothes (and shoes!) that can get dirty and wet. We will provide garbage bags and gloves. We will clean for about an hour. All ages are welcome. There will be cleanup activities both in and out of the water. We hope you can join in this effort; together we can ‘repair the sea.’

Let us know to expect you! Register here.

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