Tuesday, June 18, 2024 -
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Boulder Jewish Day School pupils “do tashlich”

Boulder Jewish Day School StudentsIn the late morning of erev Rosh Hashanah this past Monday, about 40 children ranging in age from two-and-a-half to 10 years old embarked on a field trip behind Bonai Shalom in Boulder.

Oblivious to the crisp chill in the autumn air, the kids ran back and forth between sun and shade before being corralled by Shoshana Krongold Bilavsky, the head of the Boulder Jewish Day School and the field trip leader.

“Today we are learning about what?” she asked the cluster of kids and their parents.

“Rosh Hashanah!” they yelled in unison.

“And that means what? Someone translate the Hebrew for me.”

Krongold Bilavsky pointed to a young girl with her hand raised high into the air.

“New Year!” yelled the girl.

These kids know what they’re talking about.

“We’re gonna do tashlich and celebrate Rosh Hashanah,” intoned eight-year-old Peter Littman.

“It’s just fun and I think that it will be fun to celebrate the New Year,” he said.

Peter’s pal, Nadiv Edelstein, explained tashlich. “Really, it’s what your sins are and what you do is you pretend that your sins are breadcrumbs. You throw them into the river — not a pond but a fast moving river, so the symbol is that the water will wash it away.”

Lauren Tarshis Goldberg, the schools’ outreach director, said the purpose of the program is to encourage an understanding of and appreciation for the Jewish holidays.

“Instead of learning about this in a book or classroom, what better way to show them than on site.”

This site couldn’t be any better. A river runs through the back of the pastoral property and served as the focus for the day’s field trip.

The group of children flanked two picnic tables pulled together by the adults. Assisted by parents and teachers, they recited all the blessings before sharing honey-sticky challah and apples dipped in honey.

Then the real lesson began — identifying and naming those sins.

Jake Slack had a few. “Well, I’ll name some of them,” he said and then thought about it for a moment.

“I was mean to someone once accidentally,” he paused, “and once I hurt someone accidentally.”

He along with his other classmates wrote down their sins, then folded the pieces of paper and dropped them in a bucket full of water.

Afterwards, they took crumbs of bread left over from the challah and tossed them into the water, cleaning the slate in anticipation of the New Year — and giving the ducks and fish a good start, too.

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