600 Drums

There is something about a drum that makes people happy. This past week was Tashlich, the Jewish ritual of tossing a year’ s worth of sins into a body of water. Every year my highly unorthodox Reform congregation meets at Ocean Park beach for yet another version of ridding ourselves of our secret shames. For some years now, we’ve  been dancing around the time-honored tradition of writing our sins on paper to avoid polluting the bay.  One year we brought a goat to the beach to eat our papers, another year a guy in scuba gear came out of the sea with a bag to collect them. There was the dreadful experiment of the doves (well, pigeons, I think) brought to the water’s edge. When they were let go, they were so freaked out they wouldn’t fly. One perched on my 4 year old daughter’s head, because she was sitting high on my husband’s shoulders, and couldn’t get its talons out of her curly hair. Much profanity marred the spiritual mood as child and bird were separated. Some years we build a western wall and write our sins in it.  Nice touch that, a western wall at the edge of the western world. This year, it was drums. The sound of waves, the rhythm of the drums beating out the sins. Re-interpreting tradition reinvests it with meaning! Ba-da-boom!