‘Fowl’ Jewish rite fight

New York Post - - NEWS -

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

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