Yom Kippur kicks off at sundown tonight, but first there's a lot of atoning to do today! On our way to work this morning, we passed by one of the controversial Kapparot rituals on Kent Avenue In Williamsburg, in the heart of the Orthodox Satmar community. The tradition, which dates back to the middle ages, involves swinging a chicken overhead and then slaughtering it—and has drawn protests from animal rights' activists. But there were no demonstrators this morning, just a police van, hundreds of Satmars, and a truckload of doomed chickens.
After agreeing to turn the cell phone camera off (sorry, no tripod—but at least we held the phone horizontally?), one Orthodox passerby told us that according to tradition, they purchase a chicken and transfer their sins to the fowl. Asked if they then collect their slaughtered, sin-flavored chickens to cook for dinner, he informed us that all the chickens were given to the poor. Mmmm, sinfully delicious!