Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Have Knife, Will Travel: A Shechitah Trip to East Africa

Ari Z. Zivotofsky and Ari Greenspan

As our resident wandering Jews, Ari and Ari, recently entered the El Al lounge at Ben Gurion Airport, two Mishpacha readers spotted them: “So, are you guys going on another halachic adventure?” they asked. And, indeed, that’s exactly where the two Aris were headed. But even they weren’t quite prepared for what they’d find on this latest excursion into the wilds of Africa.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It all started with an innocent interest in doing kaparos the real way. Ari Greenspan and Ari Zivotofsky were both eighteen-year-olds learning in Yeshivat Har Etzion, although not yet friends, and as Yom Kippur approached, Ari Z. showed up in yeshivah one day with two chickens. After he performed kaparos, about forty fellows stayed around to watch a shochet shecht the bird. Once he was done, the crowd dwindled to three, including the two Aris.

As we observed the shochet clean and pluck the chicken, he asked us why we don’t learn to shecht. The notion that we, American teenagers, could actually learn shechitah hit us like a lightning bolt; after all, wasn’t shechting the exclusive domain of old men with white beards? He mentioned the name Rav Sasson Graidi, a Teimani who was then the chief Sephardic shochet of Yerushalayim, and told us how to contact him.

We accepted this challenge, and it ended up changing our lives. We spent many months learning the relevant parts of Yoreh Dei’ah, and traveled into Yerushalayim late at night twice a week, sleeping at the home of Ari Z.’s grandparents in French Hill so we could rise at the crack of dawn and scramble down the side of a mountain for the ten-minute walk to the city’s main slaughterhouse. When we returned after a few years, the mountainside no longer existed, rather a highway to Maaleh Adumim had cut the hill in half. But in addition to enabling us to learn how to shecht, this experience gave us our first real exposure to a whole spectrum of different types of Jews: serious talmidei chachamim, old European Yidden, bubbies who taught us how to kasher, and Teimani Jews. It was our encounter with this last group that probably sparked our interest in exploring diverse, far-flung Jewish communities, halachah, and mesoret Yisrael.

 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you