Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, comes with its fair share of traditions and observances. There is a practice held by many people who celebrate the holiday that involves visiting a natural body of water and throwing pieces of bread into it. This casting away is meant to symbolize us throwing away our sins and atoning for that which we have done wrong over the past year. This year, I had the pleasure of spending the holiday in Worcester with some dear friends. Apart from the many hours spent in synagogue or around the table for a festive meal, I really enjoyed being outside walking around in the daylight, especially during Tashlich (the aforementioned atonement ritual). (Too often during clinics time seems to simply slip away from me. I may get to school before dawn, spend fourteen hours inside and not able to see the light of day, exiting after dark. That’s my definition of depression.) All that said, Rosh Hashanah was a welcome break from the indoor lifestyle to which I have been getting accustomed.
Something happened this year during Tashlich that had not happened to me before: while my friends Daniel, Shmulik, and Zaki were throwing crumbs into a tiny stream with fish in it, a beautiful female mallard quietly swam up to us on the bank. She seemed interested in what we were doing, so I threw pieces successively closer to where we were until the point that she actually accepted a piece from my hand. It was really special to be a part the event and feel as though a part of vet school had followed me into the holiday.