Turns out that publicly writing about one’s flaws and strengths is harder than I anticipated. After being asked to write a story to frame tashlich this year, I immediately started reflecting. What do I want to let go of? Who do I want to be? Even though I’ve practiced tashlich almost every year, this deep dive into my past year felt different and more uncomfortable. I’m used to keeping my personal reflections in my head (and was very content with that). This year, not only was I putting my thoughts into writing, but also I was asked to share with others.
It’s fair to say that I was well outside of my comfort zone. I think it’s necessary to be uncomfortable sometimes, so, though it felt weird, I continued reflecting, writing, and editing. I recalled moments of antiracism in the world around me. I was constantly asking those closest to me for their thoughts: bringing my ideas to the dinner table, FaceTiming my college friends, and journaling by myself. One day, I started to discuss what was on my mind with a close childhood friend. We went back and forth sharing perspectives, leading to a fairly long and in-depth conversation.
I wanted to self-reflect further. I came home from that conversation, satisfied, but feeling uneasy about sharing a public narrative (yet here I am). Over the past few weeks I’ve been working with Tali, Temple Israel’s Assistant Director of Social Justice Engagement. We had been talking about what tashlich means and how we are going to reframe the experience through an antiracist lens in a meaningful way. I was thinking, rethinking, editing, reediting, and trying to figure out what it meant to reframe tashlich.
I then realized that it’s about this process and journey. Shouldn’t self-reflection include taking your thoughts out of your head and bringing them into conversation? I had engaged in vulnerable discussions, thought critically about who I want to be, and asked those close to me for their guidance. These traits of listening, being self aware, reflecting, and holding myself accountable are what I hope to take into the new year. It’s not possible to completely throw away our missteps, but we always have the opportunity to learn from them. This year when I throw day-old challah into the Charles River, these are the concepts that I won’t just be thinking about but that I’ll be talking about. This reframing of tashlich allows us to turn our words into actions at a time when social action is more important than ever. How can I shape my future and “grow away” from my missteps? Through reflection. Through community. Through conversation.
- What are some missteps relating to antiracism that you hope to “grow away” from this year?
- How will you plan to step out of your comfort zone as you act toward being an antiracist?
- Participate in this alternative tashlich this year. Instead of throwing away our missteps, move forward toward antiracism by talking with an accountability partner about what you hope to “grow away” from. Consider participating in TI’s tashlich service, listening to Cantor Stillman’s tashlich medley and adding this poem.
- All are invited to join Temple Israel tonight at 8:00 p.m. for Havdalah led by multiracial and multiethnic Jews in the TI community. We will draw on a diverse array of Jewish traditions and we hope to see you there. Come prepared with turmeric, coriander, and cumin so that we can experience this South Asian scent together.
- Connecting to your sense of smell through drawing and creating a simple spice box for Havdalah. Smell and connect to a variety of spices and draw the experience of smelling these different aromas.
- Draw to your sense of smell and create a spice box