The Yadkin River partners — Christine, Phoebe and I — spent Rosh Hashanah on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I’ll never forget it. We set out early that morning on foot in search of people going to the banks of the Hudson River, in Riverside Park, to perform the ritual of Tashlikh. It’s such a simple ritual, involving a prayer of asking forgiveness and casting away regret. To be honest, we did kind of stalk people a little bit, looking for clues that they might be headed to the riverside for just that ritual purpose. But at heart, we’re all three reporters, and so we’re accustomed to seeking out clues and being kind of bold in approaching strangers.
In the course of the day we met fathers and sons, husbands and wives, daughters, sons, observant Jews and secular Jews. What struck us so much is that, all across the Jewish continuum, this simple ritual, of conveying ones regrets onto a piece of bread and then throwing it into the moving waters of this iconic urban river meant so much.
This audio slideshow is part of our series “Sacred Rivers.”