“Kapparot is not consistent with Jewish teachings and law. Repentance and charity can be better accomplished using money instead of a slaughtered chicken.” – Former Israeli Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren
To read UPC’s letter: http://www.upc-online.org/kaparos/81607letter.html
Kapparot or kaparos, using chickens, is a religious slaughter ritual performed by members of the ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jewish community in the week before Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. A chicken is held above the practitioner’s head and swung three times in a symbolic gesture of exchanging the bird for the human. The bird is then slaughtered and may or may not be given to the poor.
Kapparot using chickens is not mentioned in the Torah or the Talmud, and those who perform the ritual generally use money which is then given to the poor. There is no requirement that chickens be used for kapparot, which means “atonements.”
In the days before the slaughter the chickens are typically stacked in crates without food, water or shelter. The slaughter is cruelly performed, and birds have been found abandoned in the crates when the kapparot ceremony was over.
Responding to complaints about the suffering of chickens in kapparot rituals, United Poultry Concerns has produced a brochure entitled “A Wing & A Prayer: The Kapparot Chicken-Swinging Ritual,” available for distribution in print form, and also online at http://www.upc-online.org/kaparos/upckapparot.pdf. To order the brochures, please visit our Merchandise Section: Fact Sheets and Handouts at http://www.upc-online.org/merchandise/handout.html.
What Can I Do?
This year, kapparot is scheduled for the week between Monday, September 17 and Friday, September 21. Please write a respectful letter to the Rabbinical Council of America and ask them to advocate that kapparot be performed with money rather than chickens. Contact:
Rabbi Shlomo Hochberg, President
Rabbinical Council of America
305 Seventh Avenue, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10001
In addition, please 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. Thank you.
United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150