Rosh Hashanah is here which means Yom Kippur is around the corner and you know what that means? Time for the annual protests of the annual chicken swinging ritual known as kapparot. The generally fatal chicken "swinging" and slaughtering most often performed on the day before Yom Kippur (but can be held anytime between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur) and has some very vocal adversaries. Opponents, who this year advertised briefly in Times Square, aren't against the ritual so much as they're against the chicken killing.
To get their message of peace for poultry out, The Alliance To End Chickens as Kaporos is going to host not one, not two, but THREE two-hour protest/demonstrations in Brooklyn this year. The group argues their side like this:
The use of chickens in Kaporos rituals is cruel and contrary to Jewish teachings. It is not a mitzvah but a custom that originated in the middle ages. Most observers give money to charity which they express symbolically by swinging coins while reciting prayers for mercy and peace. Swinging and slaughtering chickens as Kaporos violates tsa’ar ba’alei chaim, the Jewish mandate not only to avoid needlessly hurting animals, but to show them compassion.
For an example of what a Kaporos ritual looks like, here you go:
The Alliance advocates swinging money rather than chickens, quoting Rabbi Shlomo Segal, Rabbi of Beth Shalom of Kings Bay in Brooklyn: “The pain caused to the chickens in the process of performing Kapparot is absolutely unnecessary. Giving money is a more humane method.”
This year's Kaporos protests will be held on the following dates:
Tuesday evening Oct 4: Ocean Parkway and Ave. P in Midwood from 6-8pm.
Wednesday evening Oct 5: Pupa Kosher Butcher store at 118 Division Ave (between Bedford & Driggs Avenues) in Williamsburg from 6-8pm.
Thursday evening Oct 6: 792 Eastern Parkway between Kingston & Albany Avenues in Crown Heights from 6-8pm.