Sunday, October 01, 2006

Why should have the chicken crossed the road..

I was having a very unholy argument inside the Holy Bagels store in Jerusalem this morning. I see a sparse selection of bagels, and it's only 9:00 am. The Yom Kippur fast begins at 5:00 pm this afternoon and American ex-pats like their bagels right after the fast.

"I'm sorry" explained the salesgirl behind the counter. "You can't order 12. There's none left. But we do have more at our other store at the central bus station."

"I'm sorry, but I'm not going there. I travelled all the way from Maaleh Adumim for these bagels."

Another sales guy intercepted.

"People placed orders for bagels already last week, and we have to take care of those."

"Aren't you making any more? It's only 9:00 am"

Most places will close around 1:00 pm. Even the local television and radio stations only broadcast until 1:30 pm. Then the nation closes for a pre-fast festive dinner and a 25 hour fast. You can't miss Yom Kippur here - not like I did years ago, as a secular, jet-setting New Yorker, sitting in a Chinese restaurant with a friend from England.

"Do you know what day it is today?" she asked.

"No. What?"

"It's Yom Kippur Eve" she told me with a slightly guilty look. I gave her a slightly guilty look back and then we continued to dig into our delicous moo shoo pork dish.

But getting back to bagels, I wasn't gonna budge from my spot. Another American guy budded in, almost getting 6 bagels, while they were still trying to decide how many to give me.

Finally, an announcement was made - more bagels coming in 1/2 hour. I took my dozen plus 2 freebies and left.

Going back to my car, looking at the sidewalk, I saw a pair of familiar feet, which when I looked up, I saw they belonged to my married daughter who just bumped into Hubby. We all decided to go and do Kaporos (Atonement)together in the shuk, using real chickens. We hadn't done it this way in 11 years, since coming to Israel, using money instead, but the chickens seem to be the real deal.

I remember 2 years ago, seeing some animal rights protesters yelling at people going to do Kaporos, prompting a slew of policemen at the site from then on.

I thought - I really like this tradition, but if I would think about it from an animal rights perspective, it's quite horrifying actually.

Going into the market, the stench was quite strong. A guy carrying a crate of already slaughtered chickens moved passed us, their blood covering their white feathers. I guess no one here is frightened of bird flu.

Hubby went first. He said a paragraph three times calling on angels and that this chicken will go to its death instead of him. Then he gave it to some guy who slit its throat and put it into a funnel for the blood to drain. I saw some teens with good cameras photographing the gory stuff.

"Are you gonna blog this?" I asked. I couldn't even bring myself to photograph it. which is why I'd make an awful photojournalist.

"It's art." he told me.

Pretty gory art. Van Gogh might have liked it.

It was my turn to hold the chicken and wave it over my head three times. The chicken squawked like mad. It really didn't want to go in my place. Probably because it sensed my sins are so many and thought it's gonna go to chicken hell as a result. As I finished, I looked up and saw a television camera staring me in the face.

"Oh shit!" I muttered.

Back home, I prepared the festive pre-fast meal which consisted of, well, chicken. I don't know how I did it but I totally disconnected the live chickens I saw that morning from the de-feathered thing that sat in my fridge.

I really should become a vegetarian.

Have an easy fast - to those who are fasting.

1 comment:

klara said...

Yup, those animal rights protestors were there again this year - but I didn't see any police bothering them. What I wanted to ask them was were they all vegetarians??? I'm guessing most everyone who sees their chicken all cooked up, doesn't even think about how it got there (or other stuff, like how it's lived, or what's been shot into it). Most people are satisfied with just taste. Ditto with other foods.

Klara