When I was about seven years old, I was trying to think of a costume to wear for the Purim masquerade event at Congregation Rodeph Sholom. My mother, who grew up in Poland, was the daughter of a kosher butcher. She decided that I should go as a shochet, a ritual slaughterer.
I wore a white coat and a hat with a sign that I was the shochet. In my right hand, I carried a plastic knife. Under my left arm, I carried a live chicken.
I was not sure who was more terrified, me or the chicken. The congregation's rabbi, Rabbi Harry Nelson, fell off his chair when he saw me. Needless to say, I won the prize for the best costume that year.
The next day, my mother brought the chicken back to the chicken market. Her Jewish heritage made the difference.
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