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Help End the Kapparot Ritual Abuse of Chickens in Brooklyn


The The Alliance to End Chickens as Kapporot has a particularly lovely logo.

Kapparot, an atonement ritual practiced by some Orthodox Jews in conjunction with Yom Kippur, involvesswinging either a live chicken or a bundle of coins over one’s head three times, symbolically transferring one’s sins to the chicken or coins. The chicken is then slaughtered.” Kapporot is performed with chickens, in large numbers, right here in New York city, particularly in certain neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

There are activists working to get all Kapparot (also spelled Kaporos, Kaparos, Kaparot, etc.) practitioners to switch to coins, and they need your help! From The Alliance to End Chickens as Kapporot:

Please join our 4th annual street protest in Brooklyn, NY against the cruel and needless use of chickens in Kaporos rituals. This year we’re renting a “moving lit billboard” – a van with huge images illuminated on the sides and the back.

Sept 10, 2013, 6 – 8 p.m.
792 Eastern Parkway, (corner Kingston Ave.), Brooklyn, NY, 11213

Sept 11, 2013, 6 – 8 p.m.
502 Ave. P, (corner E. 5th Street), Brooklyn, NY, 11223

Sept 12, 2013, 6 – 8 p.m.
792 Eastern Parkway, (corner Kingston Ave.), Brooklyn, NY, 11213

An activist Hasidic Rabbi has generously provided us with images, including one of himself tenderly holding a rooster, an audio file to BROADCAST FROM THE VAN URGING PRACTITIONERS TO USE MONEY, NOT CHICKENS, and translations of our messages into Hebrew along with English.

We know it is difficult to attend a demo where animals are suffering and dying in front of us, but as hard as it is for us, it is infinitely harder for the chickens, and we must be there for them and show that we care.

Please read A Wing and A Prayer for more information about the Kaporos (Kapparot) ritual. Please join us in Brooklyn to let the chickens know we’re there for them.

They’ve also produced this video featuring Bresov Hasidic rabbi Yonassan Gershom:

I know this can be a difficult issue for “outsiders” to get involved in. While the systemized abuse of chickens horrifying and immoral, it’s always delicate business criticizing other people’s religious beliefs and practices.  But joining the existing efforts of the Alliance is something we can all do.

I’ll leave you with some quotes from chicken-abusing Kapparot practitioners:

NPR “Weekend Edition”: Hecht says waving the chicken isn’t the point of this ritual. “The main part of the service,” he says, “is handing the chicken to the slaughterer and watching the chicken being slaughtered. Because that is where you have an emotional moment, where you say, ‘Oops, you know what? That could have been me.’

NycFaith’s Blog“Kaparot is absolutely the funniest custom we have, hands down,” said Rabbi Alevsky. “There’s plenty of giggling and laughing going around, and there’s a lot of shrieking, ‘I don’t want to touch it!’ ‘Get it away from me!’” He pauses, before adding, “And the chicken often poops on people. It chooses its targets very carefully.”

(As an aside, I also feel a dilemma regarding the “solution”; I mean, I don’t think swinging a bag of coins over your head does you any good either. I’m not even sure I believe that symbolic atonement is a positive thing at all, as opposed to specifically addressing the damage caused by bad things we’ve done. Of course I still support the Alliance’s mission, but especially if you are someone who–unlike me–believes in symbolic atonement and not abusing chickens, please join The Alliance in their efforts this year. I can only show up for the chickens; you can show up for the chickens and the spiritual mission.)


  1. Comment by


    on #

    I’m really disgusted by your attempt to sabatoge a holy ceremony. It is strictly prohibited for any Jew to treat one of G-DA creations in an in humane way. It would be against the Jewish law to bring pain to any animal. This includes the chickens that you make reference to above. Those chickens have been used for thousands of years in a yearly ritual to remove ones sins. It is also within the Jewish law to saluter animals in a painless way. Every individual blade on each knife used for slaughtering is constantly inspected to insure that there is no abrasion and that the animal feels absolutely nothing. If the animal is slaughtered in a way that is not kosher then a her cannot eat that meat since it is ritually impure and spiritually impure as well. Religious jews wouldn’t ever harm an animal or bring them pain.

    LEARN ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE TRYING TO POKE YOUR NOSE INTO BEFORE YOU GO AND TRY TO RUIN IT. YOU’RE JUST MAKING YOURSELF LOOK LIKE A BUNCH OF IDIOTS. G-d will have the last day and messing with a bunch of religious families is wrong, plane and simple.

    You’re a fool.

    Why don’t you head out to Long Island and go to a horse show. Stop one of those! You should see how they beat the horses, punch them in the face for not winning, give them bloody noses, ride them so hard that they fall down and even die from heat stroke. How about the young racing horses at Belmont Race Track who are crippled by the time they are 3 or 4 years old because they run and race before their knees are fused.



  2. Comment by


    on #

    I have personally witnessed these chickens stuffed into crates with nothing to walk on, no food, no water, and nowhere to use the bathroom. If that isn’t inhumane, I don’t know what is.

    Not to mention, the chickens aren’t even donated to tzadakah afterwards. They’re just stuffed into garbage bags and hauled away. Maybe the kapparot ceremony you go to is humane, but many of them are not. I witnessed it with my own eyes last year.

    I would be perfectly okay with it if the chickens were treated well, slaughtered humanely, then donated. But they’re not.

  3. Comment by


    on #

    Also perhaps the chickens are killed humanely? But the days without food or water leading up to their pointless deaths is inhumane. Absolutely inhumane.