Group Files Suit Seeking to Ban Kaparos Tradition in New York

REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

The annual tradition by Orthodox Jews to use a chicken in the ten days leading up to Yom Kippur may come to an end after a lawsuit has been filed in Manhattan Supreme Court against multiple Rabbis and Congregations in New York City.

The suit, filed by the Alliance to End Chickens, claims the annual trident which sees Jews circling their head with the chickens and then slaughtering them, is a ‘barbaric’ tradition, the Daily News reports.

The group states that “dead chickens, half dead chickens, chicken blood, chicken feathers, chicken urine, chicken feces, other toxins and garbage… consume the public streets,” during those days. “There is no oversight and no remedy for toxic contaminant-filled debris or clean up,” at the locations where the services take place, it  constitutes “a substantial public health risk that could have catastrophic and epidemic consequences.”

Many Hasidic congregations provide the religious ritual, which has become a major fundraising event for the large Jewish families which purchase one chicken for each child, the lawyers told the Daily News.

“Ten years ago, Kaporos only occurred in several small alleys and a handful of synagogue parking lots. However, every year it has increased in size and scope. Today, Kaporos has become an overwhelming event that has spiraled out of control… a carnival like atmosphere of bloody violence,” the lawyers say in an affidavit. “Clearly this event is now motivated by money and profits, and not by religious redemption.”

Some neighbors to congregations which host the service have also filed affidavits opposing the ritual. “Slaughterhouses do not belong in our neighborhood,” says Aleksandra Bromberg, who claims she fell ill over the past few years from a nearby Kaporos center in Cron Heights.

A spokesman for the city law department told the publication, “We’ll review the complaint.”


07/07/2015 12:31 PM by Sol Rieger

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