Saturday, September 18, 2010
One Year of Sin
At dusk, the streets go silent of cars and buses, television
programming blinks out, lawnmowers and leaf blowers
are stowed as the highways empty out, only to slowly fill
with children on bicycles, skaters and skateboarders, their dogs
running alongside, while the parents sit on benches
and chat about the last vacation to Puket or Berlin.
No one is supposed to die on Yom Kippur.
A day earlier, walking our small brown and white dog
through Park Se-adya Shoshani, my husband and I watched
a religious Jew dressed in his black coat and hat wave
what looked from a distance a feathered boa
over the head of a small boy who could not have been more
than three. Closer, I realized the scarf was in fact
a live white chicken. The chicken absorbs the past year’s
bad deeds, my husband said, looking a bit embarrassed. Even
that of a three year old child. The white chickens
are then slaughtered, so that the year’s evil dies with them.
except for pedestrians and bicyclists to a friend, who
can’t believe that no one, I mean no one, drives
the whole day of Yom Kippur. For one day, in Israel,
there is nowhere to drive. In a few hours, the Israelis will
get back in their cars, but right now, I think I hear
the Mediterranean, the sins of the past year cast off.