June 26, 2019

Where will you Tashlich?

I love the annual ritual of tashlich, the symbolic casting away of the soul’s sins. As it involves a body of water — oceans, rivers, ponds — I like to think of it as an excuse for a hike … and a spiritual adventure.  

The custom of self-reflection, traditionally performed on the first day of Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 25 this year) or anytime up to the last day of Sukkot, probably started in the Middle Ages. Its modern incarnation can take many forms, from tossing breadcrumbs or something more natural, like a stone or a twig, to tossing nothing at all. 

Some people read liturgy and sing songs; my family shares poems and engages in a little group therapy before taking a moment to visualize the spiritual healing of the world around us. No matter how you choose to perform the “casting away” ritual of tashlich, it can be a very powerful growing and cleansing experience. 

Even though we are experiencing a devastating drought in Southern California, there remain a few wonderful places to perform the ceremony that are relatively close to home. Why not be adventurous and try something new this year?

Japanese Garden at the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area

The blooming water lilies and immaculately groomed grounds of this 6.5-acre Japanese garden, dedicated in 1984, provide the perfect environment for a peaceful moment. There are many benches strategically placed with beautiful views, allowing a mood of quiet reflection to come naturally. Closed Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is $3; $2 for seniors and children.

6100 Woodley Ave., Van Nuys

Lake Balboa at Anthony C. Beilenson Park

This popular 27-acre lake is filled with fish and frequented by amazing birds and waterfowl. Venture just south of the main body of water and you’ll find a small river with little coves to make your visit a bit more tranquil and private.  And if your young ones need a distraction, there is a marvelous playground, too.

6300 Balboa Blvd., Encino 

Franklin Canyon Park

Nestled in the hills near Mulholland Drive, this park’s 3-acre lake offers easy access to a serene hideaway in the middle of the city. And Heavenly Pond, a quiet spot just west of the lake, has a walking path and picnic tables to enjoy. Flush with trees, wildflowers and wildlife, the park makes a great getaway retreat.

2600 Franklin Canyon Drive, Beverly Hills

KENNETH HAHN STATE RECREATION AREA

Perched high on a hill, with a lake and pond connected by a small rushing river, the park has panoramic views. The 308-acre recreation area includes a Japanese garden, is close to the Westside and offers lots of space for family, friends and dogs. Admission is $6 on weekends and holidays.

4100 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles

Point Dume State Beach

All along the coast, the Pacific Ocean is a perfect place for tashlich. Point Dume is especially lovely with its cliffs, rocky coves and long beaches that add a majestic view to the thought-provoking horizon, its distant line a reminder of the endless possibilities of life and the world around us.

7200 Westward Beach Road, Malibu

Los Encinos State Historic Park

Surrounded by adobe buildings and covering 4.7 acres, the flourishing duck pond, built in 1874, is fed by a natural spring. It’s a quaint respite from the commotion of Ventura Boulevard. Shady trees and a grassy area make it a tranquil setting to spend some quiet time.

16756 Moorpark St., Encino

ECHO PARK LAKE

This L.A. oasis comes with beautiful lotus blossoms and great views of downtown. It was named a City of Los Angeles Cultural Historic Monument in 2006.

751 Echo Park Ave., Los Angeles

You can also check out:

Century Lake

Malibu Creek State Park

1925 Las Virgenes Road

Calabasas

Johnny Carson Park

400 S. Bob Hope Drive

Burbank

King Gillette Ranch

26800 W. Mulholland Highway

Calabasas

Malibu Lagoon State Beach

23200 Pacific Coast Highway

Malibu