RYE BROOK, N.Y. -- Light rain came down following a downpour Thursday afternoon as families came out to a small grass clearing next to Blind Brook to perform the traditional Tashlich ceremony for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
Children and adults took pieces of bread and tossed them into the brook, then gathered together underneath umbrellas to recite prayers for the new year."The whole service is a symbolic casting away of sins and regrets," said Danny Kischel, a member of the Congregation Kneses Tifereth Israel in Port Chester. "The new year is a time to start with a clean slate."
Kischel said it was important to have the ceremony by a moving body of water to toss the bread in, so that the bread, which represents negative thoughts and feelings, could be carried away.Rosh Hashanah marks the new year in the Jewish calendar and occurs 10 days before Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in Judaism, which literally means "Day of Atonement" and involves a 25-hour period of fasting and prayer."It's a time of self-reflection, which serves us in looking ahead," said Kischel.Kischel added that Rosh Hashanah also involves celebration, and many families will get together and eat traditional foods. Eating apples with honey is symbolic for having a sweet new year.The holiday has given people time off from school and work regardless of their religious creed, but Kischel hopes that some people might take the time to learn a little about why they have time off."It's important for anybody to learn about someone else's culture," he said. "It takes the mystery out, and understanding is a good thing."
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