In coordination with The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos, Green Vegans, NARN, and others will protest the needless use of chickens in Kaporos rituals and urge that money be used instead. The demonstration is to raise awareness and opposition eliminate the “swinging” and slaughtering of chickens in Kaporos ceremonies the week before Yom Kippur – the Jewish Day of Atonement – in which chickens are ritually sacrificed by many (but not by most) Orthodox Jews by being waved over practitioners’ heads and butchered in public ceremonies.
WHY:The use of chickens as kaporos is cruel. They 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, which violates tsa’ar ba’alei chaim, the mandate prohibiting cruelty 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.
We assert that these abuses of chickens violate Seattle Municipal Code 9.25.081—Offenses Relating to Animal Cruelty in addition to Washington State RCW’s 16.52.207 and 16.52.205 relating to animal cruelty in the second and first degrees respectively. They require that chickens in a domestic setting be humanely handled and given access to adequate food, water, and shelter. The Kaporos chickens are left tightly packed in crates from beginning of transport, to delivery and storage, and until they are pulled out and swung overhead three times while held by their wings. The pain and distress of the birds is obvious to anyone watching the filmed rituals.
Because they are no longer on a farm and exempted from anti-cruelty statutes, these are domestic animals that deserve active protection under state and Seattle law. Kaporos practitioners violate this law so flagrantly and mercilessly that their actions violate their own prayers for mercy and peace. And while they may claim to distribute the butchered birds to the poor, this distribution is, according to rabbis and other critics, meaningless because the mistreatment of the chickens used in Kaporos renders them non-kosher – a point Rabbi Avi Zarki in North Tel Aviv made this year in “Israel: Kaporos Under Fire Earlier Than Usual” in The Yeshiva World, September 4, 2012. Moreover, chickens dead and alive have been reported in Los Angeles and New York being thrown into garbage bags without any charitable goal.
THIS WILL BE A PEACEFUL AND RESPECTFUL PROTEST.
It will be held outside of the Congregation Shaarei Tefilah-Lubavitch of the Chabad House (chosen because it is affiliated with the Brooklyn synagogue where The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos is hosting demonstrations in Brooklyn) at 6250 43rd Ave NE.
SUNDAY Sept 23, 5:30pm and MONDAY Sept 24, 6:00pm
You don’t have to be Jewish to attend, but we encourage those who follow the Jewish faith to stand up against the violation of the mandate against tsa’ar ba’alei chaim (causing cruelty to animals). The heart of any religion is compassion and empathy–join us to encourage that traditions and customs reflect those values.
WHAT TO BRING:
Please feel free to make signs with these suggested slogans:
USE MONEY FOR ATONEMENT–STOP CRUELTY TO CHICKENS
“THE RIGHTEOUS PERSON CONSIDERS THE SOUL OF HIS OR HER ANIMAL” ~ BOOK OF PROVERBS
SLAUGHTERING CHICKENS FOR KAPOROS:
TZA’AR BA’ALEI CHAYIM
(causing cruelty to animals)
(Any proverb from the Old Testament about compassion for animals)
(Any other slogan which must be respectful of the aims of the ritual and of the Jewish faith)
IF YOU CAN”T ATTEND:
Please sign this petition:
“Since this is not a clear duty but rather a tradition, and in the light of the kashrut problems and cruelty to animals, and in the light of all of what our aforementioned rabbis said, it is recommended that one should prefer to conduct the atonement ceremony with money, thus also fulfilling the great mitzva of helping poor people.”
–Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Head of Jerusalem’s Yeshivat Ateret Cohanim and Rabbi of Beit El, in a letter to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel quoted in The Jerusalem Post, September 14, 2010.
“Beyond the objections of the Ramban, Rashba and the Bet Yosef to the custom of ‘kapparot,’ and beyond the warnings of rabbinic authorities such as the Chayei Adam, Kaf HaChaim, Aruch HaShulchan and the Mishanah Brurah regarding the halachic infringements involved in using live fowl for this custom, the latter also desecrates the prohibition against “tzaar baalei chayim” (causing cruelty to animals). Those who wish to fulfill this custom can do so fully and indeed in a far more halachically acceptable manner by using money as a substitute as proposed by the latter authorities mentioned above.”
–Rabbi David Rosen, CBE, KSG, International Director of Interreligious Affairs, AJC, and Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s Honorary Advisor on Interfaith Relations. Former Chief Rabbi of Ireland, August 25, 2011
“A custom must operate within the confines of Judaism’s basic fundamental values. The Torah prohibits Jews from causing any unnecessary pain to living creatures, even psychological pain. It says in the Book of Proverbs, ‘The righteous person considers the soul of his or her animal.’ The pain caused to the chickens in the process of performing Kapparot is absolutely unnecessary. Giving money is not only a more humane method of performing the practice of Kapparot but it is also a more efficient way of ensuring that those who are in need will receive the requisite assistance.”
–Rabbi Shlomo Segal, Rabbi of Beth Shalom of Kings Bay in Brooklyn, New York, August 25, 2011