This past week, the grade five students at the Yeshiva of Central Queens, joined Rabbi Ribalt, Judaic Studies Assistant Principal, their rebbeim, moros, and Principal, Rabbi Landsman, for a trip to the lake at Flushing Meadows Park to participate in the mitzvah of Tashlich. The students learned how the performance of Tashlich is symbolic of the idea that Rosh HaShanah offers a chance for a fresh start for the New Year. Each student was asked to spend time reflecting on the past year, then given a piece of soluble paper to write down a midah that they would like to work on. They then threw the paper into the lake, creating an image that should continue to inspire them throughout the year, to work towards their true potential. Heidi Birnbaum said, “As I watched my paper disintegrate, I thought about the things I didn’t like from last year that I want to work on changing this year.”
Sagiv Shoshani said, “I wrote down what I wanted to change, and threw it in the water. Now I work on it every night and already some things are changing.” By physically participating in this activity, students were offered a chance to make a real connection to Hashem and to be grateful for the opportunities they have, and for the opportunity for growth in Torah learning and personal midos. Shira Nektalov wrote on her paper that, “I want to work on being nicer to people, especially the ones who are sometimes hard to be nice to.” The program was designed to instill an understanding that Hashem gives us a chance to do better and that we need to take that opportunity; however, we can’t just say it. To really make a change, we must continue to work on our midos every day. It is an ongoing process, a real commitment. “I like that I have a chance to erase all the bad things and really commit to making changes,” said Nataniel Aranbaiev.