Yesterday the Farm Sanctuary aided in the rescue of a chicken that would have otherwise been part of the sacrificial slaughter during the Jewish ritual of kaparot. They tell us the chicken was saved in Crown Heights, and later named Chesed, meaning mercy or loving-kindness in Hebrew. He joined the over 200 other NYC chickens the organization has rescued from this ritual over the past three years.
The rescuer was Brooklyn resident Wayne Johnson, "who witnessed a massive kapparot gathering at a seminary in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn on Saturday night. At 9:30 p.m., a large truck transporting approximately 2,000 chickens, packed four to a crate, arrived at the seminary. A long line of people waited to purchase chickens for $13 apiece, which they then swung over their heads while reciting a prayer before taking them over to a table where a butcher slit their throats with a knife. Around 11 p.m., a man shoved a chicken into the arms of Johnson, who had made it known he did not approve of the inhumane ritual, and told him he could have the bird. Johnson gladly accepted the frightened chicken and took him to his Brooklyn Heights home to await safe transport to Farm Sanctuary’s shelter in upstate New York. Halfway through the subway ride home, Johnson says the chicken began to relax and nestled into his arms."
It's a kaparot miracle! The Farm Sanctuary's executive director says, “Saving Chesed is in keeping with the true spirit of Yom Kippur. [His] life will serve as a reminder to the thousands of visitors who come to our sanctuary that all life is deserving of mercy and loving-kindness.”