Rosh Hashanah, Tashlikh
On the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashanah it is customary to go to the seashore or some other body of water and symbolically cast away any sins that have accrued during the past year. This custom developed in Ashkenazi communities during the 15th century and was embraced in the 16th and 17th centuries by Sephardic communities as well. The name of the custom, Tashlikh ("cast") stems from the biblical verse "You shall cast all their sins into the depths of the sea" (Micah, 7:19). Some throw bread crumbs they bring in their pockets into the water and then shake out their clothes as a symbol of shaking off or renouncing their transgressions. The origin of this custom is unknown and over the years commentators have suggested various reasons for it and for its connection to water sources.
Yom Kippur, Kol Nidrei Prayer
The Kol Nidrei prayer is recited in synagogues on Yom Kippur eve, opening the holy day's prayer service. This prayer, which is recited in Aramaic, nullifies in advance all the vows that the person reciting it will make during the upcoming year. Although some scholars have opposed this version of the prayer over the centuries, the Kol Nidrei, which was probably written in the 8th century CE and drawn from a source in the Babylonian Talmud (Tractate Nedarim Folio 23a), has been accepted by nearly all Jewish communities. In a unique and moving ceremony, the cantor repeats the prayer three times, chanting it with a special melody. Two worshippers stand alongside the cantor holding Torah scrolls as the prayer is being recited and all worshippers wrap themselves in their talit prayer shawls (this is the only time during the year that the talit is worn during an evening prayer service).
Sukkot, Bearing the Lulav
During the Sukkot holiday morning prayer, it is customary for worshippers to bless the "four species", four plants mentioned in the Torah as being relevant to Sukkot: "On the first day you shall take the product of citron trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook" (Leviticus 23:40). This custom is called "bearing the lulav" (palm frond) because the palm frond is the largest and most prominent among the four species. Worshippers hold the branches, which are braided together in a special way, in their right hand, and touch it to the etrog (citron) held in their left hand, shaking them all together. It is customary for worshippers to walk around the synagogue's central platform with their lulav while reciting a special prayer called Hoshanot, in memory of the Temple ceremony in which worshippers encircled the altar during the seven days of the Sukkot holiday.