Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos
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The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos is an association of groups and individuals who seek to replace the use of chickens in Kaporos ceremonies with money or other non-animal symbols of atonement. The Alliance does not oppose Kaporos per se, only the cruel and unnecessary use of chickens in the ceremony.

        Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos
        1157 46th Street
        Brooklyn, NY 11219
        (757) 678-7875
(Founding Members & Core Working Group)

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Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos.
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New York
It's about much more than chicken slaughter rights: Animal rights activists view all meat as murder 7 October 2015 - Jerusalem Post
Culturally Rationalized Forms of Chicken Sacrifice: The Kaporos Ritual & the Chicken Project 28 September 2015
VIDEO: Activists Disrupt Kaporos Chicken Massacre 26 September 2015 -
Brooklyn Hasidim Say Slaughtered Chickens Are Donated To Charity, New Videos Tell A Different Story
23 September 2015 - Gothamist
Video: Activists & Hasidic Jews Face Off At Ritual Chicken Slaughter 22 September 2015 - Gothamist
To Kapparot Or Not To Kapparot, That Is The Question 22 September 2015 - La Voce Di New York
Yom Kippur chicken-swinging ritual spurs two lawsuits in US 22 September 2015 - Jerusalem Post
Animal rights protesters vent fury at ultra-orthodox Jewish Kaporos chicken slaughter 22 September 2015 - Daily Mail Online
Ultra-Orthodox In Williamsburg Really Don't Want You To See This Video 22 September 2015 - The Gothamist
Demonstrators protest Jewish ritual involving chickens in Crown Heights, Brooklyn 21 September 2015 - abc7 NY
Ultra-Orthodox Jew Flips The Bird At Protester During Chicken Slaughter 21 September 2015 - The Gothamist
Kapparot “Sacrificial Chicken” Ritual Gets Green Light in New York 20 September 2015 - The Jewish Press
Statement from the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos Re: Lawsuit Against NYPD, NYC Department of Health, Hasidic Rabbis, et al. 20 September 2015 - PR Newswire
• Sunday, September 20: End Chickens as Kaporos Demo 1, Brooklyn, NY
• Monday, September 21: End Chickens as Kaporos Demo 2, Brooklyn, NY
Hasidic man about to slaughter chicken flips off protester 19 September 2015 - New York Post
50,000 Animals About To Be Brutally Sacrificed On Streets Of NYC 18 September 2015 - The Dodo
Undercover Video Shows Unsanitary And Cruel Brooklyn Kapparot Center Being Reported To Police 18 September 2015 -
Animal rights activists fight Jewish chicken slaughter ritual on streets of Brooklyn 18 September 2015 - New York Daily News

flipping the bird
Geralyn Shukwit/Courtesy Rina Deych
A young Brooklyn man participating in a Kaporos tradition of slaughtering chickens to raise money for local synagogues gives the finger to animal rights activist Rina Deych as she tries to discourage members of the community from the practice.

Readers sound off kaporos 18 September 2015 - New York Daily News
It Is Officially Legal to Ritually Kill Chickens on the Streets of New York City 18 September 2015 -
The Ritual Slaughtering of Chickens on New York Streets Is Officially Legal 18 September 2015 -
Crown Heights Kaparos Relocates 17 September 2015 - COLlive
Statement Re: Lawsuit Against NYPD, NYC Department of Health, Hasidic Rabbis, et al. 16 September 2015
The Chickens are In Trouble. They Need You! Join Us in Brooklyn to Speak for Them! 15 September 2015
New York Judge Allows Orthodox Jews to Continue Ritual Chicken Slaughter 15 September 2015 - Windsor Terrace-Kensington, NY Patch
Supreme Court Judge Dismisses Challenge Against Kaporos Ritual in Brooklyn 15 September 2015 - JP Updates
Judge Gives Go-Ahead To Ultra-Orthodox Ritual Chicken Slaughter 15 September 2015 - Gothamist
New York judge rules that Jewish chicken-whirling ritual can continue 15 September 2015 - The Telegraph
Brooklyn, NY - State Court Declines To Halt Kaporos Ritual By Orthodox Jews 15 September 2015 - Vos Iz Neias
Judge Rules New York City Does Not Have To Enforce Health And Safety Codes Against Haredi Street Pop Up Chicken Slaughter, City Residents Have No Choice In The Matter 15 September 2015 -
State court declines to halt bloody chicken-slaughter ritual by Orthodox Jews 14 September 2015 - Newsday
‘Fowl’ Jewish rite fight 14 September 2015 - New York Post
New York judge denies injunction, upholds public practice of Hasidic chicken slaughter 14 September 2015 - abc7 NY
Brooklyn Couple Rescues Chicken From Ritual Slaughter & Makes It Their House Pet 9 September 2015 - Gothamist
Resident pans temples' possible chicken slaughter for Yom Kippur ritual 3 September 2015 - The Island Now
Brooklyn Group Demands Judge End “Kaporos” Ritual; Claims Health Risk 2 September 2015 - The NY Jewish Voice
Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos Lawsuit: Update and Media Coverage 26 August 2015
Kaparos: Protected Religious Expression or Sidewalk Slaughterhouse? 25 August 2015 - Bay Ridge Journal
Jewish chicken slaughter sidewalk ritual is debated in Manhattan court; lives of 50,000 birds at stake 25 August 2015 -  New York Daily News
Cecil the Lion? What About Kaporos? 5 August 2015 - New Jersey Jewish Standard
News Release: Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos Files Lawsuit Against Hasidic Rabbis and Synagogues in Brooklyn 15 July 2015 (Also in UPC Fall 2015 Poultry Press)
“Systemic and Bloody Slaughter of Chickens Right in the Streets”
  - Channel 7 Eyewitness News Covers End Chicken Kaporos Lawsuit 8 July 2015
NY Lawsuit Seeks To End Pre-Yom Kippur Practice of Kaparot 8 July 2015 -
Breaking News: End Chicken Kaporos Lawsuit Filed In New York
  - Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos Seeks to Stop Illegal Practice 7 July 2015 - New York Daily News
Hikind on Kaporos Chickens Lawsuit: ‘Shame on You!’ 7 July 2015 - The Yeshiva World
Brooklynites File Lawsuit to Stop Brutal Chicken-Slaughtering Ritual 7 July 2015 -
Group Files Lawsuit to Force End to Kapparos 7 July 2015 -
Group Files Suit Seeking to Ban Kaparos Tradition in New York 7 July 2015 - JP Updates
Lawsuit Aims To Stop Jewish Chicken Slaughter Ritual In Brooklyn 7 July 2015 - CBS New York
Crying fowl at Hasids 7 July 2015 - New York Post

New Jersey
Video: Vegans Challenging kapparot-kosher poultry slaughter in Lakewood, NJ 20 September 2015
• Sunday, September 20: Protest the use of chickens in Kaporos, Lakewood, NJ
Group to protest use of chickens for kaporos 18 September 2015 -

Los Angeles
This Year’s Los Angeles Kapparot Activities and Next Steps 19 October 2015
One hen survives ritual animal sacrifice of Kapparot 27 September 2015 -
Jewish holiday ritual involving chicken slaughter survives a court test 18 September 2015 - The Orange County Register
The Battle over Kapparot Goes to Court 8 September 2015 - Jewish Journal

Video: Animal Rights Activists Physically Prevent Kapparot in Ashdod 21 September 2015 - The Jewish Press
Tel Aviv: No Kapparos on City Streets 16 September 2015 - Matzav
Video Encourages Israelis Not to Use Live Chickens in Kaparot Ritual 11 September 2015 - Jspace News
Videos Show Kaparot Ritual - From Chicken’s Point of View 10 September 2015 - Arutz Sheva Israel National News
Israel: New Regulations Signal There Will be No Problem with the Minhag of Kaporos this Year 27 August 2015 - The Yeshiva World (Also
Jerusalem - Knesset C'tee Nixes Agriculture Ministry Regulations For Yom Kippur Kaparot Ritual 12 August 2015 - Vos Iz Neias


New York

Kaporos Chickens Find Sanctuary Happiness
Click for More Kaporos Chickens Find Sanctuary Happiness
Updated 11 February 2015

These young chickens were rescued from a Kaporos ritual in Boro Park, Brooklyn, New York
on October 3, 2014. Despite being immobilized in transport crates without food or water,
here they are enjoying their lives full of energy, curiosity, friendliness and good cheer.
Video by Kurt Andernach, And-Hof Animal Sanctuary in upstate New York.

Guest Appearance: Kaporos cruelty violates teachings, state laws 28 December 2014 -
UPC Activists Rally to Eliminate Chickens in Kaporos Rituals UPC Winter 2014 Poultry Press
Chickens as Kaporos: A Story of Witnessing and Rescue 14 November 2014
Brooklyn Chickens Rescued from Ceremony 28 October 2014 -
Slideshow of 2014 Kaporos Ritual, Slaughter & Protests in Brooklyn, NY 21 October 2014
Activists Around the World Protest Hindu, Muslim & Jewish Animal Sacrifice 13 October 2014 -
"Harm in slaughter," Letter to the Editor by Rina Deych, New York Daily News 11 October 2014 -
Video: "Boro Park 17" Chickens Rescued From Kaporos 11 October 2014 -
"Kaporos Practitioners Treat Chickens Badly," Letter to the Editor by Karen Davis, New York Post print edition, Oct 7, 2014 10 October 2014
Animal Rights Activists Don't Want You to Swing Chickens for God 8 October 2014 -
Another one was saved from Kaporos! Meet Penelope: Here is her story 6 October 2014 -
Videos of 2014 Kaporos Ritual, Slaughter & Protests in Brooklyn, NY 6 October 2014
Free flying! Animal activists rescue 17 leftover redemption roosters before start of Yom Kippur 5 October 2014 -
Video: Karen Davis Speaks at End Chickens as Kaporos Press Briefing on 1 Oct 2014 4 October 2014 -
Ultra-Orthodox Jews Defend Right To Kaporos, Ritual Chicken Slaughter, For Yom Kippur 3 October 2014 - (Also
Animal Rights Activists Protest Kaporos 2 October 2014 -
Video: Kaporos Kapparot in Brooklyn. Torture and Murder 2 October 2014 -
Ritual Chicken Slaughter Draws Fire 2 October 2014 -
Animal cruelty protests, legal actions continue over Jewish 'Kapporos' ritual 2 October 2014 -
U.S. activists protest over Yom Kippur ritual chicken slaughter 2 October 2014 -
Bloodshed in Brooklyn – Video from the Final Night 2 October 2014 -
Animal Rights Group Protests Pre-Yom Kippur Chicken Ritual Held in Brooklyn 2 October 2014 -
The Kapparot Problem 1 October 2014 -
Jewish Ritual Chicken Slaughter Sparks Protest In Crown Heights 1 October 2014 -
Animal Cruelty Protests, Legal Actions Continue Over Jewish 'Kapporos' Ritual 1 October 2014 -
Stop this chicken torture - Kaporos, a Yom Kippur tradition, is unnecessary and inhumane 1 October 2014 - (Also
Lawyers File Emergency Order to Shut Down Chicken Swinging (New Video) 1 October 2014 -
News Release: Brooklyn Press Briefing to Protest Chickens in Kaporos Rituals 30 September 2014
Activist Arrested for Liberating Chickens; Hundreds of Others Found Dead 30 September 2014 -
Animal activists to rally against Jewish redemption rite that leads to slaughter of thousands of fowl 29 September 2014 -
Kaporos & the Chicken Industry: eHealth Podcast Interview with Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns 25 September 2014
News Release: Activists Plan Brooklyn Rally to Protest Chickens in Kaporos Rituals 23 September 2014
Their Turn: Renewed Efforts to Stop Chicken-Swinging Ritual During Yom Kippur 23 September 2014 -
Please Sign Our Petition Urging Enforcement of Laws Being Broken by Kaporos Practitioners in New York 19 September 2014
Oct. 1, 2014 @ 11am Kaporos Press Briefing in Brooklyn 11 September 2014
Chicken Kaporos Demos in Brooklyn: Please Join Us! 8 September 2014
June 12, 2014: Critique of the Animal Law Forum on Animal Sacrifice and Kaporos 2 July 2014
   (Summary in UPC Fall 2014 Poultry Press)

Chicken Kaporos Forum Audio Now Available! 17 June 2014
News Release: Karen Davis, Ph.D. Discusses Animal Slaughter at NYC Bar Association Meeting 16 June 2014
Animal Sacrifice, Religion and the Law. The Practice of Using Chickens as Kaporos: A Forum Free & Open to the Public 14 May 2014

Los Angeles
Oct. 3, 2014 @ 11am Compassionate Kapparot Demo/Ritual: Coins, Not Hens 30 September 2014
Please support efforts in Los Angeles to end the use of chickens in the custom of Kaporos 27 September 2014
Stop Chickens as Kapparot in Los Angeles: A Fundraiser/Friendraiser 18 July 2014

MK Peretz Calls to Replace Kaparot Chickens with Money 2 October 2014 -
Ancient Yom Kippur ritual of kapparot conspicuously absent on streets of Jerusalem 1 October 2014 -
   (Also &

Rabbi Stav & ‘Tzohar Rabbonim’ Come Out Against Kaporos 29 September 2014 -

Photo Essay: Yidden in London Doing Kaporos (Photos By JDN) 29 September 2014 -


New York
Lori Barrett, Esq. Letter to NYPD re: Kaporos in Crown Heights, Sept. 17, 2013 8 October 2013
At Center of Contentious Jewish Ritual, Chickens 25 September 2013 -
Kaporos in Brooklyn: Behind the Scenes, September 2013 23 September 2013 -
Op-Ed: A Double Standard on Kaparot, September 16, 2013 23 September 2013 -
Vigil For Chickens Who Died in Their Crates Awaiting Kaporos Torture - September 16, 2013 in Brooklyn, NY 15 September 2013
Protestors Try To Stop Jews' Ritual Chicken Slaughter In Crown Heights 15 September 2013 -
No one here but us (dead) chickens! Thousands of birds die from heat, not Jewish sin ritual 13 September 2013 -
Big Fat Vegan Radio - Kaporos Update!! Field Interview with Dawn Ladd 12 September 2013 -
Brooklyn’s ‘crazy chicken lady’ making progress in fighting kapparot ritual 11 September 2013 -
Truck urging money instead of chickens in Kaporos 10 September 2013 -
Big Fat Vegan Radio - Interview: Rina Deych (Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos) 10 September 2013 -
News Release: Activists Will Rally In Brooklyn, NY to Protest Chickens in Kaporos Rituals 4 September 2013
Please Sign Our 2013 Petition Urging Money Instead of Chickens in Kaporos Rituals 29 August 2013
Chicken Kaporos Demos in Brooklyn: Please Join Us! 20 August 2013
Urge Brooklyn Business Owners to Stop Renting Out Their Property UPC Winter-Spring 2013 Poultry Press

Los Angeles
Sacrificial Chickens: Jewish Yom Kippur Ritual Sparks Controversy in Pico-Robertson, LA Weekly, Sept. 13, 2013 15 October 2013
Please Sign Los Angeles Petition to Ban Chicken Kaporos & Read Passionate Blog Post by Vegan Rabbit! 20 September 2013
Petition City of Los Angeles: Stop granting permits for Kapporot, ritual animal abuse 18 September 2013 -
Kapparot With Chickens: On Ritual Slaughter and Human Greed, by Vegan Rabbit, September 16, 2013, Los Angeles 17 September 2013 -
Letters: The chickens or the religious rite? -, September 14, 2013 16 September 2013
Compilation of Los Angeles Times Kaporos articles/letters September 11-14, 2013 16 September 2013
Killing of chickens in Jewish ritual draws protests 15 September 2013 -
Sunday's protestors sought kaporot concessions by Edmon J. Rodman 10 September 2013 -
Los Angeles Activists Heat Up Against Chicken Kaporos 6 September 2013
Atonement chickens — swung and tossed, Jewish Journal of Los Angeles by Edmon J. Rodman 3 September 2013
End the Killing of Chickens For Kapparot - September 8, 2013 in Los Angeles, CA 2 September 2013

Minister Peretz Opposes the Kaparot Tradition: “Prevent Animals from Suffering” 16 September 2013 -
Chickens Rescued from Kapparot By Animal Rights in Israel 16 September 2013
Why perform a rite that kills chickens as a way to seek divine compassion? The Jerusalem Post by Richard H. Schwartz 2 September 2013

Considerations, Information, Pleas for Mercy & Action
Kaporos Campaign Report: A Heartfelt Plea for Mercy UPC Fall-Winter 2013 Poultry Press
Kapporos protests: What works and what doesn't 4 October 2013 -
PLEASE SIGN OUR 2 KAPOROS PETITIONS! 5,000 Signatures Needed! Ask Friends, Family & Coworkers to Sign Now! 1 October 2013
Kaporos: A Heartfelt Plea for Mercy 27 August 2013
United Poultry Concerns' Campaign to End Chicken Kaporos 19 March 2013

Activists Rally In Brooklyn to Protest Chickens in Kaporos Rituals UPC Winter 2012 Poultry Press
Chicken Tzedakah Makes a Racket 4 October 2012 -
Chicken Tzedakah 2 October 2012 -
Video: Activists Can't Stop Yom Kippur Slaughter Of Thousands Of Chickens In Crown Heights 28 September 2012 -
Activists to Jews: "Use money instead of chickens in the ritual of Kaporos" (Photos/videos) 26 September 2012 -
Video: Decapitating CHICKENS at Kaporos - Brooklyn NY 9-24-12 26 September 2012 -
Video: Karen Davis, UPC Speaks at Kaporos Protest, Brooklyn 9-24-12 26 September 2012 -
Video: Rescued Kapparot/Kaporos Chickens 26 September 2012 -
Chickens & All Creatures Need Mercy From Us: 6 Articles & One Video 21 September 2012
News Release: Activists Will Rally In Brooklyn, NY to Protest Chickens in Kaporos Rituals 18 September 2012
Luncheon to Benefit the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos - Join us at Caravan in NYC on Sunday 23 September 11:30am 5 September 2012
Join UPC President Karen Davis on Animals Today Radio on Sunday September 2 at 5:00 p.m. EST 31 August 2012 - Topics: United Poultry Concerns' Campaigns to End Chicken Kaporos and Require Fire Protection Systems in Farm Animal Housing Facilities
Please Join our End-Chickens-As-Kaporos Demos in Brooklyn on September 23rd and 24th 31 August 2012
Please Sign Our Petition Urging Money Instead of Chickens in Kaporos Rituals 29 August 2012

End Chickens as Kaporos Campaign: A Growing Force for Compassionate Change 18 October 2011
Traditional Yom Kippur Chicken Slaughter In Orthodox Community Causes Controversy (VIDEO) - 7 October 2011
Video of Kaporos 4 Oct 2011 Demo #1 (Midwood, Brooklyn) 5 October 2011 -
A Yom Kippur of Mercy or Cruelty? | The Jewish Week 3 October 2011 -
Need volunteers to transport rescued chickens to several locations in NY, PA, and possibly MD 1 October 2011
Directions & Instructions for End Chickens as Kaporos Demos October 4, 5, and 6 1 October 2011 Annual Protests Of Annual Jewish Chicken Ritual On Schedule 1 October 2011
Times Square Ad for End Chickens as Kaporos Rally & Logo - Our PR Newswire Release was displayed on September 28, 2011 29 September 2011
News Release: Activists Will Rally In Brooklyn, NY to "End Chickens as Kaporos" 28 September 2011
“An End to Chickens as Kapores?” By Jenna Weissman Joselit,, September 21, 2011 26 September 2011
Join Us in Brooklyn for 3 End-Chickens-As-Kaporos Demos in October 21 September 2011
Gourmet Dinner to Benefit the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos - Join Us at Blossom in NYC on Monday 3 October 2011 at 6pm 14 September 2011
Jonathan Scovner's Review of When the Chickens Went on Strike and interview with Erica Silverman 2 September 2011 -
Please Sign Our End-Chickens-as-Kaporos Petition for 2011 30 August 2011
End Chickens as Kaporos: Get Ready for Demos in New York City! 15 August 2011

Chemers, a baby rooster, was rescued from Kaporos rituals in 2010. This photograph is one of 12 winning
photos published in the 2011 Chicken Run Rescue calendar (

Photo by Greg Straight Edge.

• 11/23/10: David Rosenfeld - “End Chickens as Kaporos” - Tonight on MINDLIGHT, Queens Public Television, QPTV Channel 34, from 8-9pm ET.
• 11/16/10: End Chickens as Kaporos Campaign Wins Major Media Attention (UPC Winter 2010 Poultry Press)
• 11/15/10: AECK Founding Member's Home & Banner Vandalized
• 10/12/10: Please Write a Thank You Letter to the Editor of THE WASHINGTON POST
• 10/11/10: “An ancient tradition draws protests” by Carol Guzy, The Washington Post, Oct. 9, 2010
• 10/04/10: Mary and Peter Max Benefit to End Chickens in Kaporos Rituals was a Great Success!
• 09/28/10: News Release: Mary and Peter Max Will Host Benefit to End Chickens in Kaporos Rituals
• 09/27/10: Kind Kaporos Article, Blog & Letters to the Editor
• 09/23/10: Videos of 2010 Kaporos Ritual & Slaughter in Brooklyn, NY
• 09/15/10: Brooklyn Rally to End Chickens as Kaporos Draws Vigorous Activist Turnout & Media Coverage
• 09/15/10: Crying foul over kaporos, The Jewish Star, By Michael Orbach
• 08/04/10: End Chickens As Kaporos Rally on September 12 in Brooklyn, NY
• 09/09/10: Activists Cry Foul Over [Cruel] Chicken Ritual
• 09/07/10: News Release: Activists Will Rally on September 12 in Brooklyn, NY to “End Chickens as Kaporos”
Veterinarians Speak Out Against Using Chickens As Kaporos
The Custom of Kapparot in the Jewish Tradition
Petition to Replace Chickens with Money in Kaporos Rituals
Video and Images from 2007 Kaporos in Crown Heights, Brooklyn

When the Chickens Went on Strike
chicken-strike-cover (20K) One day during Rosh Hashanah - the beginning of the Jewish New Year - a boy overhears the chickens in his village plan a strike. They are sick of being used for Kapores, the custom practiced in his Russian village where live chickens are waved over everyone's heads to erase their bad deeds. "An end to Kapores!" the chickens chant as they flee the town.
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A Wing & A Prayer
The Kapparot Chicken-Swinging Ritual

“Kapparot is not consistent with Jewish teachings and law. Repentance and charity can be better accomplished by using money instead of a slaughtered chicken.” - Former Israeli Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren quoted in “Jewish chicken killing ritual of Kapparot,” Los Angeles press release by Nazila Mahgerefteh, September 28, 2006

“Our intention is not to dismay. Our intention is to save life.” - Roberta Kalechofsky, Jews for Animal Rights

chicken_swinging (176K)
Kapparot practitioner performs chicken-swinging ritual in Israel in 2003.
Photo by: Agence France-Presse

What is kapparot?

Kapparot or kaparos, meaning “atonements,” is a custom in which a chicken or money may be used. Kapparot using chickens is practiced by some Jews shortly before Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. First, selections from Isaiah 11:9, Psalms 107:10, 14, and 17-21, and Job 33:23-24 are recited. Then a rooster (for a man) or a hen (for a woman) is held above the person’s head and swung in a circle three times, while the following is spoken: “This is my exchange, my substitute, my atonement; this rooster (or hen) shall go to its death, but I shall go to a good, long life, and to peace.” The chicken is then slaughtered and may or may not be given to the poor for food.

History of kapparot

Kapparot is not mentioned in the Torah or the Talmud. It was first discussed by certain Jewish scholars in the ninth century who claimed that since the Hebrew word gever meant both “man” and “rooster,” punishment of the bird could be substituted for that of a human. According to the Encyclopedia Judaica, other Jewish scholars strongly opposed kapparot. The 13th-century scholar Rabbi Solomon ben Abraham Aderet considered kapparot a heathen superstition. Rabbi Joseph Caro called it a “foolish custom.” Others have pointed out that kapparot does not remove sins, and if it could, what would be the need for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement?

abandoned_chickens (80K)
Chickens abandoned by Kapparot practitioners in Brooklyn, NY in October 2005.
Photo by: Sam Schloss

More recent objections to kapparot

“Anyone who walks through the markets can see that the manner in which the chickens are held before the Kapparot is insufferable. There is no veterinary supervision and no concern for the feelings of these poor creatures.” -Rabbi Gilad Kariv quoted in 09/28/2006

The chickens are treated poorly in the days leading up to, during, and after the kapparot ceremony. In the U.S., Israel and elsewhere where the ritual is performed, the birds are crammed in crates, where they are typically kept in their own excrement, without food, water or shelter, for six days before the “shlug kaparos” (“swinging of the chickens”) is performed on the eve of Yom Kippur. In 2005 and 2006, the ASPCA in New York City confiscated hundreds of starving chickens abandoned in crates in a garage and a parking lot when the ceremony was over. Chedva Vanderbrook, a board member of the Jerusalem SPCA, described a typical scene in Jerusalem: “The chickens are brought to the slaughter in cramped cages without water in the broiling sun. Half of them die on the way.”

In 2006, Nazila Mahgerefteh described the events she watched take place in Los Angeles: “For 6 days until Oct. 1, morning to night, in front of adults, children and babies, these pitiful birds are swung around the practitioner’s head. Then the vocal chords are slit so the chicken cannot scream in pain, and then, still alive, the writhing birds are thrown into a plastic trash bag while still walking and looking for a way out of the bag with the head clinging to a cut throat.”

injured_chicken (77K)
Kapparot chicken found injured and covered with feces in Santa Monica, CA on September 20, 1996.
Photo by: Cherylynn Brown

How can kapparot be carried out without using chickens?

“It is absurd that people are asking for life by taking the life of another creature, especially when Kapparot can be done with money.” - Chedva Vanderbrook, Jerusalem Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, quoted in 09/28/2006

In kapparot ceremonies practiced by many Torah-observant Jews, money is put into a handkerchief which the person swings three times around his or her head while reciting: “This money shall go to charity, and I shall go to a good, long life, and to peace.” This ceremony, which is mentioned in many prayer books including the highly regarded Artscroll Siddur, preserves, even enhances, the sense of repentance and the tradition of charity, since no innocent creature has to suffer and die for a person’s misdeeds.

While the Jewish tradition is filled with concepts, prayers and actions during the Rosh Hashanah-Yom Kippur period that stress the importance of rachamim (compassion and sensitivity), the message of kapparot using chickens to those who take part and view it, including children, is a lesson of insensitivity to the feelings of other living creatures. Respected Jewish author & educator, Dr. Richard Schwartz, has pointed out that using chickens for kapparot is inconsistent with the Torah prohibition of tsa’ar ba’alei chayim, which forbids the causing of unnecessary pain to living creatures. He states that “using money rather than chickens is consistent with Judaism’s powerful teachings on compassion to animals” and that “at a season when we ask for God’s compassion, we should have compassion on God’s defenseless creatures.”

money (37K)

“I am a member of the religious Jewish community in Brooklyn, New York. This year I took pictures of the deplorable conditions in which the birds were kept. I believe they receive no food or water for the week or so that they are in the possession of the retailers. They certainly receive no food or water over the Shabbat. One kapparot station had the birds outside exposed to the rain on a Shabbat through Sunday. I saw birds dead in their crates. Birds were crushed. Birds were opening and closing their mouths, probably out of thirst. The retailer who sold me my birds [to live in a sanctuary] tossed them into my box as if they were loaves of bread. The fact that most retailers didn’t even question me when I took pictures means that no one has made life difficult for these retailers. It’s time to make life difficult for people claiming to be religious and doing this to animals.” - David Rosenfeld (2006)

Rabbi Zusya used to travel around the countryside collecting money to ransom prisoners. One night he came to an inn in which there was a large cage with all kinds of birds in it. Zusya saw that the creatures wanted to fly free through the spaces of the world. He burned with pity for them and said to himself, “Here you are, Zusya, walking your feet off to ransom prisoners, but what greater ransoming of prisoners can there be than to free these birds from their prison?” Then he opened the cage and the birds flew out to freedom. - Rabbi Everett Gendler, The Life of His Beast

What should Jews and others who are concerned about the treatment of animals do?

  • Please contact the Rabbinical Council of America and ask them to advocate that kapparot be carried out with money rather than chickens. Contact:
    Rabbi Shlomo Hochberg, President Rabbinical Council of America
    305 Seventh Avenue, 12thFloor
    New York, NY 10001
    Phone: 212-807-7888
    Fax: 212-727-8452
  • Write letters to your local Jewish newspapers expressing your objection to the use of chickens for kapparot. Ask them to do an article about kapparot that examines the ceremony from the standpoint of Jewish teachings that encourage compassion for animals.

  • Distribute this brochure to members of your community and to everyone whom you believe should become involved in this issue. Click for PDFOrder printed copies
kapparot_practitioners (50K)
Kapparot practitioners prepare to swing chickens in Chicago in 2004.

This brochure has been produced by United Poultry Concerns and is cosponsored by Jews for Animal Rights ( and Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI),

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United Poultry Concerns
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405 USA
(757) 678-7875