Where no sin has gone before

Where no sin has gone before

Leave it to Stanford Hillel to put a high-tech twist on a longstanding Jewish custom.

You’re probably familiar with Tashlich, the ceremonial casting of your sins — represented by breadcrumbs — into a body of water in the days of repentance following Rosh Hashanah. “You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea,” the prophet Micah said some millennia ago, and for centuries Jews have acted out that script, to the occasional chagrin of more literal halachic authorities and those concerned about the welfare of waterfowl.

But now, Hillel at Stanford and students from the Stanford Space Initiative have teamed up to offer “Tashlich in space.”

The motto of the project: “Reflect. Renew. Blastoff.”

You can go to the project’s website at bit.ly/spacetashlich, enter your reflections on the past year, and Hillel will download your answers and put them on a memory card that will be part of a payload launched by the student-run Stanford Space Initiative.

As the report in J: The Jewish News of Northern California clarifies, your sins will not actually make it into orbit.

“Technically, admits Stanford junior Daniel Shorr, it’s not really space. Space begins at the Kármán line 62 miles up. Your sins are only destined for about 4,000 feet. At that altitude, you still get birds. So not even close to space. But definitely in a rocket, which is still pretty cool,” David A. M. Wilensky reported.


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