Tashlich Flash 90

Hundreds of Antwerp Jews hold the New Year's tashlich ceremony for casting away error every year in the big urban lake - but this year they will have to look for another solution. The heat wave that struck Europe dried the lake up completely.

The lake is within walking distance of the Jewish quarter of Antwerp. It is populated with fish and ducks in normal times, and these provide great pleasure for children accompanying their parents during tashlich.

'And cast all their errors into the depths of the sea'
'And cast all their errors into the depths of the sea' iStock

"It's definitely a loss, especially for my wife and children," said Aaron Spencer, a father to eight, to the JTA news agency. "You can do tashlich alone, as you can pray alone, but it gives more respect to G-d when we do it in a unified way, as a community."

The Antwerp municipality discussed many solutions including the possibility of partially refilling the lake with water for the Jewish community. However, this plan was eventually disqualified. The municipality will probably approve placing water tanks suitable for the purpose, albeit less magnificent, in the park or elsewhere.

Antwerp has about 20,000 Jewish residents and 14 Jewish schools. In the Diamant area, where the haredi community is concentrated, dozens of kosher stores carry products with the strictest kashrut. There are also a number of kosher restaurants in the city, but these serve mainly visitors who come from outside the city, and the modern Orthodox part of the Jewish community.

Jew in Antwerp, Belgium
Jew in Antwerp, Belgium Johanna Geron/Flash 90