The Apologies Exchange & Alternative Tashlich Rituals

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Watch our 30-minute workshop on creating your unique tashlich ritual at home or with your community. 

To create an Apologies Exchange Booth in your community, visit:
You can purchase water-soluble paper here: 

Explore Tashlich on HighHolidays@Home
- Audio-Guided Tashlich Meditation by Deanna Neil 
- Tashlikh Atlas - virtual tashlikh at any body of water around the world
- Mental Health Tashlich
- Blessing for Seeing the Ocean 
- Wash My Soul Tashlich Ceremony 

Other Tashlich Ritual Alternatives

From Rabbi Stephanie Kolin, Union Temple
- Sit in your home before a bowl of warm water. Speak your deeds onto ice cubes and then place them into the water and watch them as they dissolve.
- Write your deeds onto a piece of paper and then rip them up, burn them (safely, please), or cross them out vigorously until you can’t make out the words.

From 18Doors
- Write your mistakes in sidewalk chalk, then spray with a water bottle. Or if indoors…
- Write things down using a washable marker on paper and then submerge them in a dish of water.
- Use washable ink to write on a rock and then place it in a dish of water.
- Use a small chalkboard to get the same effect indoors.

Announcing our High Holiday Webinar Series

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With just a few days until Rosh Hashanah, one thing is clear - the 2020 High Holidays (5781) are going to be memorable!  
Explore new ways to celebrate the High Holiday season with a series of webinars sharing DIY rituals from our community of creators. Click the links below to register - space is limited.

Monday, September 14: Set Your Rosh Hashanah Intentions with Trisha Arlin 
Tuesday, September 22: Making Meaning in their Memory with Esther Kustanowitz
Thursday, September 24: Creating a Ritual Life Planner with Casper ter Kuile 

Missed a webinar?  Find links to recordings here! 
Friday, August 14: How to Host a Rosh Hashanah Seder 
Thursday, August 20: Home Altars for the Jewish New Year
Wednesday, August 26: Authentic Confessions with Alden Solovy
Monday, August 31: Home for the High Holidays with PJ Library 
Thursday, September 10: The Apologies Exchange - Tashlich Project with Founder Eileen Levinson

Family-Friendly High Holidays at Home with PJ Library

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Together with PJ Library, High Holidays at Home shared ways to celebrate the High Holiday season with families and children. Here are the resources discussed during the webinar.

PJ Library High Holiday Guide 
PJ Library Family Conversations Guide is available on this site to download or combine with other holiday booklets. 

Find rituals to make the holidays meaningful for your family in our Seeker Season Guide
Blessings for our children can be found here:

Families with children with special needs can find resources at and

Suggested Books:  Happy Birthday WorldToday is the Birthday of the World,  Tashlich at Turtle Rock
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

What Makes an Authentic Confession with Alden Solovy

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Authentic Confessions: Selichot that Matter – A confession is, essentially, a story we tell about ourselves. What do our confessions say about our stories? Join Reform Liturgist Alden Solovy in preparing for the High Holy Days by diving into the unique language of the two traditional confessionals: the alphabetic acrostic (Ashamnu) and the longer “For the Sin” (Al Chet). By contrasting them with modern selichot, we’ll ask: What is an authentic confession? What are the stories we're telling? What are the confessions that matter?

Notes from Our Webinar Chat

What are Our Confessions? 

  • Talking to ourselves and to God, other people

  • Being open and honest for the purpose of awareness and self-improvement, hoping God is listening, shining a divine light that might crack open the door to my heart just a bit more

  • Self-reflection 

  • Doing the work, not reciting the deed. Doing the work means working to be my most authentic self and contributing to the world. That is thanks to Gd for my life.

  • Talking to the universe as a mirror, in which my best qualities are at one with God

  • Confession, to me, is an acknowledgement of what is. I used to think that it was just between me and God, that I could have the quiet conversation and make teshuvah quietly, internally. This time has made me realise that it’s important to do this with those who will hold me accountable/support me in my return. All that is transformed here is refracted in all the worlds.

  • Words matter for my own clarification, they’re both a roadmap and a jumping off point.


What is the Purpose of Confession? 

  • If the purpose of this time is to return, to re-align, to fine at-one-ment, it stands to reason that balance is important. We can do this by acknowledging where we missed the mark and also where we’re right on!

  • Self-criticism means applying criteria and noting what is below the norm and what is according to and above the norm.

  • To come home to our truest soul-selves we need both: it’s the thing and the sequence that I think is the important piece in this discussion of “competing confessions”


What is the Choreography Behind Our Confessions? 

  • Tapping our hearts in the rhythm of our heart beats, as a "love tap" vs berating ourselves

  • This feels calm and tender. We sometimes tap or beat gentle, as a way to open our hearts. By doing this, we can open ourselves to more awareness of where we’ve missed the mark.

  • I use a heart message as it is a time to comfort ourselves as well in our teshuvah

  • Some of us have switched to a positive heart connection like little squeezy massage

  • Breaking the hardness in our hearts through beating, tapping or massaging,  loosening the gunk around the heart, like how pounding on the back feels good when you have a bad chest cold because it knocks loose the lung mucus

  • Knocking on the door of the heart/soul - hitor’ri hitor’ri!

  • Kol Dodi Dofek / The Voice of My Beloved Knocks

Home Altars for the Jewish New Year

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Explore making your home altar for the 2020 High Holidays (5781) together with Eileen Levinson and Rebecca Missel from

Click here for a step-by-step guide to making your home altar

For more ideas and resources about home altar making, click here.

A New Tashlich Ritual

Posted by Recustom

Smiley face

Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, many Jews engage in a ceremony called Tashlich, which means “casting off”. Participants gather at a large body of water and throw pieces of bread, each representing sins or regrets from the past year, to be carried away with the current. & HighHolidays@Home creator, Eileen Levinson has shared her own take on this ritual, with a project called The Apologies Exchange. In the weeks before Yom Kippur, The Apologies Exchange sets up temporary booths at public events, in which participants may post & exchange anonymous notes of apology.

Here's how it works: Visitors enters the booth to see twenty anonymously written apologies. They are invited to remove one apology of personal resonance and "exchange" it by posting a personal apology of their own. When they leave the booth, they place the anonymous card in a large glass bowl of water. The apology cards, made from rice paper, will slowly dissolve, causing the works to blend and disappear.

Download this kit to learn how to build an Apologies Exchange booth for your community, or try a simple version at home by writing your apologies on this water soluble paper. We'd love to know how it goes! Send pics to [email protected] or tag us on Facebook 

Apologies Exchange Tashlich

Apologies Exchange Tashlich Card

Apologies Exchange Tashlich Card

Apologies Exchange Tashlich Card Dissolves


Notes and Resources from Making Our Home Altars

Posted by Recustom

On August 20, Rebecca Missel and Eileen Levinson from the team hosted a webinar on making our home altars for the 2020 High Holiday season. Read on for notes and resources generated during the webinar.

To Register for Our Other Webinars, click here:


Bringing in Nature 
Feathers, which hearken back to the words for tzitzit and the wings of your garment 
Eucalyptus bark, written on with beet juice 
Fragrant herbs & spices like lavender, rosemary, vetiver, cinnamon, cloves 
Elements of the four seasons 

Items to Include on Our Altars 
Judaic items like kiddush cup, siddur, candlesticks, shofar, yad, tallit, etc. 
Plants, flowers, crystals or stones
Notes of gratitude, wishes for the new year
Shards of glass from a wedding 
Pictures of people dear to us - ancestors, mentors, teachers 

Clips & Booklets from High Holidays at Home 

Ideas to Engage with Community 
Shiviti making workshop
Email image to community for placing on home altars or having present during the season
Send packages with local apple cider, honey, coloring book pages, challah, booklets with prayers and rituals, water-soluble paper, birdseed, magnets 
Other names for our altars: mikdash m’aat, makom kadosh, mizbeakh

Artists Making Altars 
The Seder Plate Project on Instagram 

Calendars and Supplies 

What Is Elul & Why Do We Need It

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Rabbi Denise Handlarski from Secular Synagogue tells us more about this special month

Remember back in the spring when we were all suddenly in lockdown and figuring out how to do Passover seders over Zoom?  There were oh-so-many Passover jokes about plagues and "why this Passover is different from all other Passovers” because they were online. 

This year is pretty different for the High Holidays too. We can’t get together the way we normally would. Most in-person services are cancelled or drastically altered. And we are different too -- all of us have sustained significant loss and difficulty this past year. 

That is why we need the spiritually magical month of Elul.

Elul is the Jewish month leading up to the High Holidays, traditionally a time for spiritual reflection, study, and getting ready for the year to come. In the Secular Synagogue online community we are mainly secular and cultural Jews and our loved ones - and we make a big deal about Elul. 

I don’t think we can magically flip a switch this Rosh Hashanah and say “Happy New Year! I’m good now.” Getting to a place of feeling good, even feeling ok, is going to take some significant reflecting, goal setting, and work. 

Every year, I release a Get Clear on Your Jewish Year. It’s a great companion to the High Holidays at Home Time to Reflect guide. Both have prompts for reflection and goal setting. This one is my gift to you. But this year I felt I needed - we all needed - something more.

So I created the Elul Program: Engaged Living, Unlimited LoveIt includes a 36-page guide with daily, weekly, and month-long challenges, five Zoom sessions, a bonus guide for kid-friendly Elul activities, the option for a study buddy, a special Elul playlist and more!

You get a community supporting you in doing your personal work, a program with so much goodness packed in you will feel smarter, stronger, healthier, and happier by following it, and you’ll get me helping nudge you in the direction you want to go.

This year is a weird year. Next year will be too. But it doesn’t have to be bad weird. Let’s draw on Jewish wisdom and connect with loving community to make sure we don’t waste any more days, weeks, or months waiting for things to be good again. Let’s make them good -- exactly where we’re at. 

And if you are curious about what Secular Synagogue has going on for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, get a sneak peak here.

Wishing you all a truly transformative Elul and a beautiful new year! 
Rabbi Denise Handlarski,

How To Host A Rosh Hashanah Seder Webinar

Posted by Recustom

Watch a recording of our webinar, "How to Host a Rosh Hashanah Seder," from August 14, 2020. You can find notes from the webinar chat below. 

Register for all our fall webinars at:

Rosh Hashanah Seder Purposes Suggested by Participants

  • Create more connectivity and engagement especially for our families who long for interaction

  • To provide family members who might not have an online synagogue option

  • This RH is different from all other RHes.

  • Offering something new as a complement rather than a substitute for the more traditional observances

  • We are going camping and I want a non digital spiritual option to celebrate the holiday in the woods

Symbolic Foods & Themes 

Suggestions for Finding Diverse Stock Images 

Music & Suggestions for Kids

Other Resources