By Matt Hirsch
Brooklyn College’s Tanger Hillel gathered on Sept. 12 to help clean up Coney Island Beach for the fourth annual Reverse Tashlich of Jewish marine conservation organization Tikkun HaYam. The event saw Jewish communities in eighteen different countries gather to clean up marine debris.
On the first day of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, breadcrumbs are traditionally cast into a body of water, and prayers are recited to symbolically cast away sin in the Tashlich ceremony. Hillel joined Tikkun HaYam to perform this practice in a way that would also contribute to the community, hence “Reverse Tashlich.”
The event was organized by Tanger Hillel staff member and BC alum Danielle Kogan. Fifteen volunteers including students and some alumni spent the afternoon collecting over 2,500 pieces of garbage.
“This was the first event I got to plan [from] start-to-finish as a staff member at the Tanger Hillel,” she said. “I was really inspired by the students’ passion for community, and honestly, it was heartwarming to see so many students acknowledge the environment as a priority.”
According to Tikkun HaYam, ocean pollution violates the Jewish ethical principle of Bal Tashchit, or “do not destroy.”
“Tikkun HaYam made it so easy to customize the event to our students’ needs. And knowing, as a team leader, that there were teams of people around the world working on the same thing, on the same day, was mind-blowing,” said Kogan.