‘Fowl’ Jewish rite fight
A Manhattan judge will decide Monday whether Orthodox Jews living in Brooklyn can participate in a 4,000yearold custom — which critics say is both cruel to animals and a publichealth threat.
The ritual, called kaporos, is performed on the days before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It involves saying prayers while swinging a chicken around one’s head, and then killing the bird. Followers believe one’s sins can be transferred to the chicken.
Plaintiff Michal Arieh calls kaporos — Hebrew for atonement — an “atrocity.”
In court papers, Arieh says she’s haunted by the “stench of blood, urine and feces” left in the streets following the ritual.
She notes that many in Israel perform the ritual with money instead of chickens.
Rabbi Shea Hecht called the suit “an attack on our religious freedom,” painting opponents as vegetarians who are “interfering with our custom.”
Groups in Borough Park and Crown Heights have already ordered 50,000 chickens that will be trucked into the city later this week. Rabbis organizing the dayslong event are demanding a $500,000 bond as compensation if the court rules against them.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Debra James said she will issue the written decision by the end of the day Monday. Julia Marsh