Tashlich at Centre Street Pond
So rather than go into some overlong description of what the custom of Tashlich is all about (particularly because the author is way too lazy to write something elaborate like that and would rather just get to the point), we’re gonna just give you a straight-up breakdown of the Tashlich experience at the Centre Street Pond in Thornhill (which is technically called the Oakbank Pond, but who’s really keeping count.)
I was told by someone who lives down south that with the exception of some apparent body of water by the old BJC and Earl Bales Park by Shepphard and York Downs (this Thornhiller doesn’t know first-hand, but a Google Maps search does help) there really isn’t any place for Toronto Jews to do Tashlich on Rosh Hashanah within a reasonable walking distance. With this mind, it definitely makes what we have in Thornhill a lot more unique and definitely something we shouldn’t take for granted.
But enough about things that make Thornhillers think they’re better than the down south crowd. Let’s talk Tashlich.
So first of all I have to point out the significance of the pond being located on Centre Street. Why do I point this out? Let’s just say that with the exception of those who live in the immediate area (i.e. those that go to Associated) as well as those unfortunate souls who live north of Centre – Westmounters, Chabad Flamingo & Thornhill Woods folks), no Thornhill Jews ever really go north of Centre Street.
Sure you have down south folk who think everyone in Thornhill lives on farms, but let’s face it: What reasons do Thronhill Frummies have reason to leave the Clark bubble and trek up past the imaginary eruv at Centre Street? Sure the Promenade Mall is on Centre, but that doesn’t really count.
So keep this in mind: to shlep up to Centre Street on Rosh Hashanah for Tashlich must be a pretty big deal.
And so begins the experience… Or should I mean the social scene experience….
Seriously, if you don’t think you’re gonna hit up the pond without saying more words to someone else than you do when reciting Tashlich, you’re crazy. Sometimes I wonder if shuls/congregations talk to one another prior to, and match up schedules so that more than one can attend at the same time. More business deals and new member recruitments are probably made because of this. Not to mention it’s probably really difficult for someone to have a meaningful Tashlich, considering all the social distractions.
And since we’re on the topic of distractions, how about the trouble of actually snatching a good spot to do the deed? Chances are that if you don’t come early, you’ll be tossing your sins towards a big crowd of bullrushes and overgrown grass on the side and off the deck, while your shoes are probably getting wet since there’s no pavement or covering there, especially if it just rained earlier.
At even if you do get some box seats on the deck, chances are you’ll be a little squeezed in, and more likely find it difficult to hear yourself pray since it’s so loud. Well… loud may not be the precise word; noisy sounds more like it.
Also, if you end up being the smart one to remember to bring a machzor, there’s bound to be someone not as resourceful who’s isn’t as equipped as you. And being the nice Jew you are, you’re willing to lend your machzor to those forgetful bunch. And while you’re getting mitzvah points for that good deed, chances are the time you spend waiting will cause you to miss a vital social opportunity, or a quicker chance to escape on-coming rain, or chas ve’shalom – miss your maariv minyan!
And even if you take your eye off that forgetful soul, there’s a good chance you may not see that machzor ever again.
Oh… and then there’s always those random ignorant ones who bring bread to toss for the ducks. At least that provides for some entertainment.
Yeah so with all this, it’s no wonder this author decided to try something a little for tashlich this time around. Not because I dislike the scene and all; but perhaps to try something different. That is for another post on a different blog 😉
But also because all I really want to lose at Tashlich are my sins, and preferably nothing else.