BRIARCLIFF, NY. -- The chickens have come home to roost at a synagogue in Briarcliff.
Congregation Sons of Israel has started its own organic farm on 1.5 acres of the synagogue's property. The farm features chickens laying eggs that the synagogue plans to sell its eggs at farmers markets, CSI's Sunday Organic Market and donate to local food banks. The synagogue also plans on growing fresh vegetables, herbs, fruit trees, berries, and flowers.
Rabbi Steven Kane said the farm was a way to generate interest in the synagogue.
"Synagogues have to find new ways to present themselves," Kane said. "Everybody is having trouble getting members. Synagogues need to remake their image."
Kane said the synagogue had a lot of unused land and the idea for a farm came up. The synagogue consulted with farm experts and after clearing the area in May, planted crops in time for planting season.
Kane said the crops they grow can be used as a revenue source for the synagogue and they also plan on renting out farming beds to people who wish to farm.
The chickens have been laying about three to six brown eggs a day since they arrived in Briarcliff two weeks ago.
CSI also plans to use the area for outdoor education and a prayer circle and is also installing new walking trails in the back of the property.
Kane said the raising of the chickens is keeping with Jewish law. The Torah mentions how you should not cause unnecessary pain to animals.
"Animals should be able to live in an environment they can enjoy," Kane said. "They deserve a good life, it's about how you treat them. We are taught to have respect of nature."
To show off the new farm, CSI will be hosting a barbecue Sunday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m featuring activities for children and adults and letting people name the chickens.
For more information, contact 914-762-2700 or visit www.csibriarcliff.org .