NPR Report: “Swinging Chicken Ritual Divides Orthodox Jews”

Photo by: NPR
NPR Rabbi

On September 25, National Public Radio aired a report on Morning Edition about kapparot, in Brooklyn, New York, that included a link to our Website on theirs. Though UPC president Karen Davis’ interview didn’t make it into the final story, UPC provided the perspective of animal rights opposition to “swinging” and slaughtering chickens in kapparot ceremonies and put the reporter in touch with Brooklyn activists, Sam Schloss and David Rosenfeld, whose powerful voices dominate the NPR report.

For example: “For years, [Sam] Schloss has been covering up [kapparot] posters with his own that show filthy and starving chickens in crates - ‘emaciated chickens mixed with dead chickens,’ he recalls. ‘There was no food, there was no water - it was hot during the day, cold at night. There was rain. It was just a torturous thing for these animals.’”

And David Rosenfeld, a member of the Orthodox community in Brooklyn, talks a woman out of purchasing a chicken to “swing” for kapparot: “‘We want people to use money,’ Rosenfeld says, explaining that waving money around her head is just as religiously acceptable as waving a bird. ‘We think it’s very cruel to the chickens. We’re trying to get people to not buy the chickens at all but use money instead.’ She nods and says she’ll use money this year.”

The “pamphlets” handed out by David and Sam in the report are UPC’s brochures A Wing & A Prayer: The Kapparot Chicken-Swinging Ritual. This year, as in previous years, David Rosenfeld rescued two chickens from a kapparot vendor. They are now living peacefully at Farm Sanctuary, in Watkins Glen, NY.

To read the NPR transcript and listen to the report, go to our Website and click on the “Ethical Kapparot” document at Our entire kapparot campaign, including the NPR report, is posted at under Chickens.