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15 August 2011  
End Chickens as Kaporos: Get Ready for Demos in New York City!
Tabling Help in Brooklyn is Urgently Needed Now! Please Read On.

Plans are in the works for our End Chickens as Kaporos activities this year, which will take place during the first week of October, 2011. We’re in the process of organizing 3 demos in Brooklyn: one in Crown Heights, one in Midwood, and one in Williamsburg. Since the demos will be during the week, they’ll probably be scheduled for the evening – after people get off work – from 6 to 8pm. As soon as we have exacts dates & times, we’ll let you know.

David Rosenfeld is ready to start tabling in Brooklyn now. He needs activists to help him distribute our brochure A Wing & A Prayer: The Kapparot Chicken-Swinging Ritual, and encourage observers to use money instead of chickens. If you can help with tabling, please contact David at his home at 718-339-9061 or by email at

David was brilliantly featured in the 2009 NPR Report: “Swinging Chicken Ritual Divides Orthodox Jews”.

What is Kaporos?

Kaporos (“atonements”) is a custom preceding Yom Kippur – the Jewish Day of Atonement which this year falls on October 7 – in which chickens are ritually sacrificed by many Orthodox Jews. The person “swings” the chicken, held by the legs or by pinning the bird’s wings backward, around his or her head while chanting about transferring one’s sins symbolically onto the bird. The chicken is then slaughtered. Before the ceremony, the chickens are packed in crates, and birds not used have been found abandoned in their crates when the ceremony was over. The use of chickens in Kaporos rituals is extremely cruel and is not required by Jewish law.

The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos seeks to replace chickens in Kaporos rituals for 3 main reasons:

  • The use of chickens as Kaporos is extremely cruel. The chickens suffer in being held with their wings pinned backward, in being swung over the heads of practitioners, and in being packed in crates, often for days without food or water leading up to the ritual. This cruelty violates tsa’ar ba’alei chaim, the mandate prohibiting cruelty to animals and exhorting kindness to animals.

  • The use of chickens is not required by Jewish law. It is not a mitzvah but a custom that originated in the middle ages.

  • There is an acceptable substitute that not only avoids cruelty but can help reduce hunger and show compassion. Money can be used as a non-animal alternative, and funds raised can be given directly to charities that provide food for the poor and hungry throughout the year, including 13,000 Jewish families living at or below the poverty line in New York City.


The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos is an association of compassionate people who seek to replace the cruel use of chickens in Kaporos rituals (also spelled Kapparot or Kaparos) with money or other non-animal symbols of atonement in the week preceding Yom Kippur, which this year falls on October 7. To learn more about the Alliance and its objectives, please go to See also Thank you for supporting our effort.

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