TSBY Does T’shuvah
Last week, the Tiyul: Shabbat B’yachad (TSBY) community came together to learn about the holy day of Yom Kippur. Our theme was t’shuvah – a specific type of repentance and atonement that Jews do before and during the High Holy Days. Doing t’shuvah is a multi-step process where we: 1) acknowledge the wrongdoing, 2) sincerely regretting and apologizing for the wrongdoing, 3)resolving to not commit that behavior in the future.
Each of our age groups did a different activity to teach them about doing t’shuvah. Our youngest group learned about how to do t’shuvah with every part of their bodies. We drew outlines of each student and on each part of the body they wrote one (or more) things that they could do better using the body part. Think: How can you do t’shuvah with your hands, you feet, your eyes, your ears…?
The fourth graders learned about the Jewish tradition of tashlich. Tashlich is the symbolic casting off or throwing away of our sins into a body of water. Tashlich can be a part of doing t’shuvah because by doing tashlich we think about the things we have done wrong and take steps to move beyond our past misdeeds and towards making better decisions in the future. Symbolically “casting off” those times when we “missed the mark” reminds us not to dwell on our mistakes and teaches us that we have the ability and the responsibility to do better in the next year.
As they learned about tashlich, the students received special paper to write down ways in which they’d missed the mark in the past year. Acknowledging those mistakes is the first step of t’shuvah. They took their slips of paper and tossed them in water. Amazingly, the paper dissolved and disappeared when it touched the water, “erasing” last year’s mistakes and reminding us that the next important task of t’shuvah is to be ready to act differently when we find ourselves in similar situations in the coming year.
Here are some pictures of both activities: