Time to Stop Using Chickens for Kaparot

By The Shamayim V’Aretz Institute

Orginally appeared on shamayimvaretz.org, source archive.org

Kaparot (Ritual Redemption)

Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, many Jews ritually atone for their sins. The Jewish tradition provides a few ways to atone, including swinging money around one's head or a chicken. Once swung around the head, the chicken is ritually slaughtered and supposed to be given to the poor. There is no legal imperative to use a chicken for this ritual and so we call on all Jews to stop using chickens for kaparot and to use money instead as the chickens are grossly mistreated.

Each year thousands of chickens are kept in harsh conditions waiting to be used for kaparot. Many are never used and some are left to die of dehydration and starvation. Furthermore, undercover investigations have revealed that ritually slaughtered kosher chickens allegedly earmarked for “the poor” were instead thrown into the trash.

What is Kapparot?

Kapparot is a Jewish religious practice in which a live chicken is swung over a person’s head three times before the chicken is slaughtered. The purpose of the ritual is for the chicken to symbolically receive all the sins of the man or woman participating in the ritual, which is practiced before Yom Kippur.

Kapparot originated in medieval times and today only a small fraction of members of the Jewish faith practice the ritual using live chickens. The vast majority of observant Jews use coins instead of chickens. Many rabbis condemn the use of chickens as unethical and contrary to the spirit of Jewish tradition.

Why Do We Oppose Kapparot?

The pain and suffering than chickens endure as part of the Kapparot ritual is unimaginable. In addition to being slaughtered, many chickens are subjected to torturous conditions leading up to their death. (from www.kapparot.org)

Relevant Articles

Orthodox rabbis who have come out in opposition to the practice of chicken Kapparos 

Rabbi Yosef Adler
Rabbi Dr. Marc Angel
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner
Rabbi Daniel Askenazi
Rabbi Joseph Beyda
Rabbi Yitzchak Blau
Rabbi Yosef Blau
Rabbi Aviad Bodner
Rabbi Ira Budow
Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo
Rabba Dr. Carmella Abraham
Rabbi Michael Chernick
Rabbi Eliyahu Fink
Rabbi Eliezer Finkelman
Rabbi Aaron Frank
Rabbi Avidan Freedman
Maharat Ruth Balinsky Friedman
Rabbi Yonassan Gershom
Rabbi Jeremy Gimpel
Rabbi Daniel Goodman
Rabbi Dr. Mel Gottlieb
Rabbi Dr. Yitz Greenberg
Rabbi Donn Gross
Rabbanit Goldie Guy
Rabbi Dr. Meesh Hammer-Kossoy
Rabbi Ari Hart
Rabbi Benjamin Hassan
Rabbi Dr. Richard Hidary
Rabbi Eliezer Hirsch
Rabbi Shaul Judelman
Rabbi David Kalb
Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky
Rabbi Ysoscher Katz
Rabbi Tzvi Koren
Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn
Rabbi Gabriel Kretzmer-Seed
Rabbi Daniel Landes
Rabbi Aaron Leibowitz
Rabbi Aryeh A. Leifert
Rabbi Aaron Levy
Rabbi Yamin Levy
Rabbi Dov Linzer
Rabbi Yehoshua Looks
Rabbi Haskel Lookstein
Rabbi Asher Lopatin
Rabbi Moshe Mayor
Rabbi Dr. Ariel Evan Mayse
Rabbi Michael Melchior
Rabbi Avram Mlotek
Rosh Kehillah Dina Najman
Rabbi Haim Ovadia
Rabbi Dani Passow
Rabbi Dr. Ariel Picard
Rabbi Yossi Pollak
Rabbi Aaron Potek
Rabbi Sam Reinstein
Rabbi Dr. David Rosen
Rabbi Daniel Raphael Silverstein
Rabbi Shlomo Segal
Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller
Rabbi Jay Shoulson
Rabbi David Stav
Rabbi Chaim Strauchler
Rabbi Devin Villarreal
Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz
Rabbi Alan J. Yuter
Rabbi Lawrence Zierler
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner calls on Jews to use money instead of chickens for Kaparot

The campaign to end chickens as Kaparot in Los Angeles

Brooklyn Investigation