Thursday Night Activities

My face is blurred in order to protect my identity from PETA, those crazy fuckers. The chicken's face is seen because let's face it, all hope is lost for that little guy. He was my exchange, my substitute, my expiation. This chicken went to death and I shall proceed to a good, long life and peace. SUCKER!

Last Thursday night was a very special night in the life of this little adventurer.  A retelling:

First up was the inaugural meeting of the Harold Pinter Appreciation Society at a dark and cozy midtown bar, the location of which can’t be revealed because, well, then people would stalk and try to join us (whereas if they are interested, all they must do is email us at and perform for the committee the monologue version of “The Tea Party.”)  At this wildly successful event, we drank wine, read aloud from The Dumb Waiter and speculated as to what mess, exactly, Ben and Gus leave behind for whomever to clean.  The next meeting was scheduled and plans for upcoming more elaborate performances (with costumes and larger casts, perhaps) were made before the meeting was adjourned.

At this point I hopped on the F train to Brooklyn for my second activity of the night: kapparot, the ancient Jewish ritual of swinging a live chicken round your head and then giving it to be slaughtered.  I met my friends the Zs and after a quick costume change (we decided M’s red skirt wasn’t frum enough), we hopped into the Rabbi’s minivan, picked up another couple and headed for the exotic and far-flung neighborhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn’s enclave for the Lubavitch Chasids.  We walked into the heart of the hood and, surrounded by an army of Yiddish and Hebrew speaking schoolgirls and young boys asking for change for the Rebbe, engaged in Kapparot.  The three men went and bought live chickens, held them by their wings, brought them back to us ladies (standing at the periphery) and, as we recited a prayer, twirled them around our heads three times.  There were a lot of high-pitched clucking/squealing noises (babies and chickens sound very similar.)  After we recited the prayers, we took the chickens ourselves, walked up to the little slaughter booth, where there were a few men who deftly snatched up the chickens, cut their throats, and tossed the carcasses on a pile behind them.

M and I were feeling a little queasy from the smell of fresh blood so we walked away from the ado and visited a nice bakery across the street, where I bought some delicious looking rugelach for my own YK observance and the Zs bought some snacks that we consumed after thoroughly soaking our hands in Purell (which I don’t even believe in but because my hands smelled like chickens, I made an exception.)  After this, we walked over to the Rabbi’s house, passing the infamous 770 Eastern Parkway (spiritual center of the deceased –– perhaps? –– Menachem Mendel Schneerson) on our way, to pick up some palm fronds for our sukkah hut (lulav) and also some etrog, these bastardized hybridization of a lemon and a gourd.  We had to wait for a while in line because there were a few pushy dudes who seemed BFFs with the Rab, but no matter as we got to discuss the perils of palm frond selection and admire the pious decrepitude of the abode.  After we had purchased all our holiday necessities, we hopped back in the van and drove back to more gentrified pastures.


I wish I could tell you about my upcoming adventure, but sadly, if I reveal our plans now, it may ruin the whole thing.  Just wait, though, it’s damn good.  One thing I can tell you is that the question of what to wear is so loaded it trumps even the one I asked myself pre-Kapparot.

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