The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos is hosting three peaceful 2-hour protest demonstrations the first week of October in Brooklyn. The Alliance is
protesting the cruel and unnecessary “swinging” and slaughtering of chickens in Kaporos ceremonies the week before Yom Kippur, the Jewish
Day of Atonement. All three demos will be held on weekday evenings from 6-8pm.
Tuesday evening Oct 4: Ocean Parkway and Ave. P in Midwood from 6-8pm.
Wednesday evening Oct 5: Pupa Kosher Butcher store at 118 Division Ave (between Bedford & Driggs Avenues) in Williamsburg from 6-8pm.
Thursday evening Oct 6: 792 Eastern Parkway between Kingston & Albany Avenues in Crown Heights from 6-8pm.
Last year our rally and candlelight vigil in Brooklyn brought excellent media attention including the moving coverage we received in The Washington Post by Pulitzer Prizewinning photojournalist Carol Guzy on October 9, 2010. This year we will again bear witness to the needless
suffering we seek to end.
The use of chickens in Kaporos rituals is cruel and contrary to Jewish teachings. It is not a mitzvah but a custom that originated in the middle ages.
Most observers give money to charity which they express symbolically by swinging coins while reciting prayers for mercy and peace. Swinging and
slaughtering chickens as Kaporos violates tsa’ar ba’alei chaim, the Jewish mandate not only to avoid needlessly hurting animals, but to
show them compassion.
Chickens used in Kaporos rituals are trucked from factory farms to urban areas and held in transport crates for days without food, water or shelter.
Last year Brooklyn resident and Alliance member, Rina Deych, described chickens packed pitifully in crates on top of crates in the cold and rain during
the entire night. She wrote on September 14, 2010: “I live in the heart of Boro Park. Every year, I see chickens ROUTINELY thrown into dumpsters,
the dead along with birds who are dying of dehydration, injury, exhaustion, and pain.”
“Chickens suffer terribly in Kaporos rituals,” says the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos. “They suffer in being callously held
with their wings pinned painfully and injuriously backward and in being packed in crates, often for days, without food or water leading up to the
ritual. They suffer in being slaughtered and handled as if they were inanimate objects, unworthy of kindness, mercy or respect.”
Influential Orthodox rabbis have expressed opposition to using chickens in Kaporos rituals on grounds of religion, morality, and compassion for
animals. In 2010, Rabbi Steven Weil, CEO of the Orthodox Union of Rabbis in New York City, told the Alliance that the OU opposes using chickens as
Kaporos due to the ritual’s “insensitivity” to the birds and the lack of historical foundation.
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Head of Jerusalem’s Yeshivat Ateret Cohanim, stated in a video presentation in 2010 that in the light of cruelty to animals,
“It is recommended that one should prefer to conduct the atonement ceremony with money.”
In 2011, Rabbi David Rosen, International Director of Interreligious Affairs for the American Jewish Congress and Former Chief Rabbi of Ireland, wrote:
“Those who wish to fulfill this custom can do so fully by using money.” And Rabbi Shlomo Segal, Rabbi of Beth Shalom of Kings Bay in
Brooklyn, stated in an email: “The pain caused to the chickens in the process of performing Kapparot is absolutely unnecessary. Giving money is a
more humane method.”
“There is a perfectly acceptable Kaporos practice that not only avoids animal cruelty, but can help reduce hunger and show compassion to
all,” says the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos. “Money can be used instead of swinging and sacrificing chickens, and funds raised can
be given directly to charities. People ask mercy from G-d. The chickens need mercy from us. We ask Kaporos observers to show mercy and use money
instead of chickens.”
The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos is an association of compassionate people who seek to replace chickens in Kaporos ceremonies with money or
other non-animal symbols of atonement. To learn more about the Alliance and its objectives, please go to