Kaporos is a ritual that takes place in the days leading up to Yom Kippur, the holiday of atonement that follows the Jewish New Year (generally around September-October). Originating in the 7th century, the ritual involves swinging chickens or coins around a participant’s head three times while a prayer is recited.
This mystical rite serves as a substitution of judgment:
This is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my expiation.
זֶה חֲלִיפָתִי, זֶה תְּמוּרָתִי, זֶה כַּפָּרָתִי
Practitioners who are unused to handling chickens will often hold them by their delicate wings, causing significant pain and injury.
And though the ritual is meant to provide for those in need, the birds’ bodies typically end up discarded in the streets.
Jewish law commands us to prevent the suffering of animals, to care for the health and safety of ourselves and our communities, and not to waste the Earth’s resources.
That’s why we’ve partnered with the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos to provide relief and care to the chickens.
And that’s why we’re performing outreach to our fellow Jews in Brooklyn every day that this ritual takes place, forming connections and relationships around our shared Jewish values.
Our Kaporos Action Committee is a network of on-the-ground volunteers who participate in conversations with kaporos practitioners. We do not protest, carry signs, chant, or make speeches. Our only action is to engage in calm, respectful conversation.