Back to the Old, Front to the New

I pass a softened piece of challah from my hand to hers.

The shape of our fingers and the shade of their tips match.”It’s small.” She says, her chocolate tinted eyes meeting my hazel version of the same.

The breeze blows her hair in slices across her face. Long strands whistle and whip until she can hardly see.

I reach across the small space between us to slip a lock behind one ear, my long-time favorite gesture of love.

“Choose wisely.” I answer, a tiny gem passed from mother to daughter. Another gesture.

Today is golden, the sun glints and sparkles and shimmers against the water.

It’s Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year, and we’re doing Tashlikh, the casting away of this year’s regrets.

One small piece of challah, our Friday night bread, goes into the water for each fear, trait, mistake that we’re ready to let go of.

Our family holds tight to rituals like these – ones we can do together and explain easily.

By the light of this morning’s just-risen sun, I baked honey cake for my family. In Judaism, food is often the gesture.

I ran my fingers through silky flour, sprinkled in generous doses of the finest of flavors. Cinnamon. Nutmeg. Allspice.

Stirring and mixing and blending the sweetness that is meant to come after Tashlikh.

I remember my own mother, my Ima, doing the same.

Padding across her tiled kitchen in slippered feet, her small, barely five foot frame topped with shocking henna-red hair.

Her handwritten, in Hebrew, recipe lost beneath many of the same ingredients that I used today. Honey. Orange juice. Coffee.

Blue-inked sloped and curved letters, that I no longer know how to read, deliciously stained and splattered.

She was a whirlwind in her kitchen. Leaving open cabinets, spilled ingredients, and the sweetest of cakes in her wake.

This morning after Tashlikh, my family turned on our heels, our backs to the old, our fronts to the new.

We walked together as five, sneakered feet crunching earthy pebbles and newly fallen leaves.

We feasted on honey cake and apples dipped in honey and apple juice.

Countless reminders of the sweetness in opportunity, in newness, in what is yet to come.

On our way, Kayli laced her fingers with mine. “I love Tashlikh.” She said, her voice lilting within the same wind that blew her hair just moments before.

This gesture has passed from my Ima‘s weathered hands to my own lined ones to my daughter’s smooth, matching set.

A perfectly sweet beginning to the new year.

So I have to ask, what would you let go of from this last year?


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  1. I love your sharing of traditions. And your sharing of them with us.

    And how gorgeous are you and your babies???

    This year, I’m letting go of chaos. It’s all calm and zen for me, no matter the situation.

  2. Oh traditions…I’m so happy to hear that you’re passing them on…and then your beautiful children will pass them on as well.

  3. What beautiful traditions you are passing on to your children. I love reading your heart and I know that you are passing that on to them, too.

  4. Oh, the photo of you walking with your girls, just beautiful.

    I love so much of this post but mostly that it shows me ONCE AGAIN what an amazing little family you have, Galit.

    I’m letting go of NOT LETTING GO! 😉


  5. Love! Such great pictures. We did the Taschlik walk yesterday and my kids just love it. Now if I could only hold them to those promises, etc. 😉

  6. This sounds like a wonderful tradition. And I love the picture you painted with your “Ima” and her cooking up a storm in the kitchen with the open cabinets and spilled ingredients…so lovely. There are a few things I’d like to let go of, also.

  7. Doubt, for sure. In myself, in the world. But it is easier to type than to actually do.

    (Also, unrelated and not at all thought-provoking, but I am loving all of your pinned dress/boot combos. I am in fall-shopping hunt for new things!)

  8. This sounds like a wonderful tradition to keep! I think it is probably also a simpler way for children to truly let go. It’s always difficult to explain to a child to let go of a bad feeling, for example. But if you make a physical ritual for it, with a special place where this feeling could be left, it has to make this difficult concept much easier!

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. It’s an interesting question, but I don’t have an answer. I almost never let go of things. I rarely have a choice. Even with the right medications, bipolar still has a tight hold on my emotions. Intensity is never far from my surface, and I’ve had to spend a lot of my life learning that it’s also OK to not be able to control that, to not be able to let go.

  10. What a beautiful moment to share.

    I would love to be able to let go of regrets from years past. It would be very freeing.

  11. This is so lovely. I wish we had this tradition.

    I would let go of the angst of wondering if I am where I’m supposed to be (literally and figuratively).

  12. Thank you for sharing your traditions, so beautifully told too, I might add. One of my favorite parts is the little gesture of love–tucking the hair behind an ear. So very sweet and true to what us Mamas do :) As for me, since you asked, I’d like to let go of anger. And worry. Do I get two? Those are my two. Even though I’m generally happy and calm, I still let those two well up and claim space much more than I’d like to admit. I loved this, Galit. Thanks again.

  13. Oh Galit, I love this – obviously your writing and gorgeous photos but the sharing of tradition from generation to generation. It’s beautiful. I treasure traditions and I always worry whether or not I’m doing them justice in my attempt to pass them down. The one thing that I would let go is dwelling and worrying about the things that I cannot change.

  14. How lovely! Traditions and family and sharing memories, and all the while creating new memories to treasure.

    I have to say that I would like to leave self-doubt behind me, and just believe in possibility.

  15. I wrote about Rosh Hashanah and Tashlikh this week, too.

    As a girl, I learned one should not toss bread into the water as one wouldn’t want the fish to “eat our sins!” Instead, we empty our pockets, a symbolic gesture (although we are always amazed by what we find in the corners of our pockets — lint, bits of dirt, candy wrappers.)

    It doesn’t matter really though, right? Bread or no bread. This ritual is an opportunity to join together with the ones we love and let go of our transgressions. It feels good. My son & I used to read our lists aloud. Now that he is a teenager, he has become more private. He brought a list, but he folded it up and brought it up where he tore it into tiny pieces.

    I wonder what it said.

    I am considering typing mine up as a post tomorrow.

    I don’t know. It’s rough and raw being so very sorry.

  16. Oh, sweetness personified! This post, your family.

    I am letting go of the need for ‘stuff.’ I want to simplify.

  17. I love these rituals! I’m sure your girls will write or speak of you as fondly as you do your mom. And I’ve heard of the honey cake! My girlfriend made it for her family recently and it sounds amazing! I’d like to leave behind any negative self-talk regarding appearance, weight, etc. Happy Rosh Hashanah!

  18. What a wonderful tradition! The foods tied to it sounds delicious.

  19. I enjoyed reading this and learning something new. What would I let go of? Tough question. I think mostly my regrets. And more. Can I let go of more than one thing?

  20. Loved reading this, Galit. I know so little about Jewish customs, I find stories like this fascinating. Thank you for sharing!

  21. I love this ritual. Such beautiful symbolism.

    L’shana tova, my friend! xo

  22. What a beautiful tradition. From the way you described everything, it all sounds so magical. Like it’s surreal that something this sweet even happens in this society anymore. You are a wonderful momma for dong this special thing with your family. There will definitely be fond memories for your children, and I hope they will continue it with their families someday too…. xxx

  23. “This gesture has passed from my Ima‘s weathered hands to my own lined ones to my daughter’s smooth, matching set.” <–This brought tears to my eyes.

    Your words are so beautiful. I feel transported when I read your stories. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    This year I have let go of my quest for perfection in parenting. It feels really good :)

  24. Traditions are sweet glue that bonds the generations. Casting off fears and regrets—wonderful, healthy no matter what our faith. What a healing exercise and gift of a new beginning. Love this.

  25. Tashlikh sounds like a wonderful (and therapeutic) tradition. And the sweet goodness that comes afterward – yum!

  26. Love this. I would love to let go of some regrets.

  27. I know of Rosh HoSanah but I’ve never heard of Tashlikh. Naming the burden to the challah and casting it into the river. You write with such sensory expression. You are so unique that way. I love it.

  28. I just love this. This is one tradition I did not know about. I miss living closer to my in-laws because we miss out on all of this. My husband isn’t into Jewish traditions anymore. We try our best to visit his family when we can so that my life can experience all of these amazing traditions, but it is hard. I try my best to make the traditional food now and then so that my children can experience it. Maybe some day my husband will change his mind and want to delve more into the Jewish traditions. Catholicism is so different in regards to their traditions.

  29. This is beautifu and heart tugging. Not only did you teach me about a some beautiful Jewish traditions you reminded me of the importance OF traditions…of hanging on, and lettng go. As my children have grown I have to remind me myself to loosen the grip and let go gracefully….yet still keep the ties that bind us.
    I need to let go of the gremlins that consistenly whisper that I’m not enough. Ever. No matter how much love I’m wrapped in. That’s what I need to let go of this year..and every.
    As always…love your words girlfriend!

  30. Anti-Supermom says:

    Simply wonderful. What an amazing tradition, thank you for sharin with us. I’m letting go of thinking that ‘I can’t do something’. I know more, as I grow, that *I can*… it may just take a little trial and error.

  31. Loved hearing about your holidays and traditions! i think the thing that I would let go of from this past year is a friendship that is well past it’s expiration date. Thanks for sharing.

  32. Such beautiful and special tradition that involves your family. Very precious! Also, happy belated New Year :)

  33. Maybe if more people read about religions through words as beautiful as yours, the world would get along better. You put the meaning and love behind this tradition. xo

    If there is one thing that I would let go of it it would be all of the self questions and doubt so I could relax more and enjoy more.

  34. Absolutely beautiful…as always!! The words letting go
    Bring fear and sadness to my heart because even
    Though there’s many times I think I could have handled
    Something in a better way, I want to hold on to these moments, these
    Days full of laughter and joy and sippy cups and hugs and even diapers *gulp*
    and not let them go. I want to stay in this moment forever!

  35. I love hearing about your traditions. It makes me feel closer to you and I love this one. What a beautiful way to start your new year! What would I let go of? The need to control everything…the worry…the guilt.

  36. Tashlich is now my favorite part of Rosh Hashanah. This year, our Temple held a yoga class by a small body of water (where we chanted shalOMMMMM!), a small prayer service then we threw our bread into the water. I got more out of that 1.5 hours outdoors than I did sitting in shul, believe it or not. Thanks for sharing your beautiful traditions with all of us.

  37. Could you say this anymore beautifully? Happy new year, friend.

  38. I love your ritual – love the way you describe it, especially in the kitchen. I can see it all.

  39. I love this, Galit: the letting go.
    This post reminds me so much of when I first met you, writing for the collective blog.

    So much of you here, and so much that we can learn.

    This one is precious.

    Thank you.

  40. Such a beautiful tradition. Sweetness and release passing down through the generations. What a lovely thing to share!

  41. I’m late to this post, Galit, but so very glad I made it finally.

    Lovely. I want your recipes. ALL of them. I love the photos along with this, and your thoughts on all of it.

    This new year was a rough one for me, so I’m hoping it only gets better.

    Shanah Tovah, my sweet friend.

  42. I love that traditions have taken root in your heart so that you can pass them on to your own children. And what a beautiful tradition this is. Happiest and sweetest of New Year’s to you and your beautiful family, Galit.

    Have been thinking about you quite a bit lately. May be the season, or just your words I have missed. It’s always a delicious treat to stop on over. XOXO

  43. Oh, what beauty here. In the ritual, with your daughters, your Ima. Just beautiful, Galit. I always feel rested, at peace when I’m here. Especially today. Thank you so much.