It was a cast of thousands: of breadcrumbs.
On Monday, the day after Rosh HaShanah, a few hundred Jews came from Lower Manhattan to perform the ancient ritual of tashlich. The name means "thou shalt cast," referring to the small pieces of bread or objects that are shaken from one’s pockets and thrown onto a body of water, symbolizing the discarding of one’s sins.
This year the location was symbolic too: the Hudson River behind the Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, the site nearest to the destroyed World Trade Center.
Educational Alliance sponsored tashlich after Rosh HaShanah, so participants would not have to drive to the river on the holiday.
Its reason for choosing a spot near Ground Zero is obvious.
For an hour before sunset, Jews came to the site. Parents with children, senior citizens in wheelchairs. They read from prayer books, tore slices of bread into smaller pieces and threw them into the river. The waters carried the pieces south.
Two days later another ceremony took place nearby: at Ground Zero itself, thousands of New Yorkers, on the first anniversary of 9-11, recalled another sin.