• Petitioned Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, Director

This petition was delivered to:

Lubavitch World Headquarters
Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, Director

Urge Kaporos Practitioners to Wave Money Instead of Chickens in 2013

    1. Petition by

      Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos

Kaporos ("atonements") is a custom preceding Yom Kippur - the Jewish Day of Atonement - in which chickens are ritually sacrificed by many Orthodox Jews. The person "swings" the chicken, held by the legs or by pinning the bird's wings painfully backward, around his or her head while chanting about transferring one's sins symbolically to the bird. The chicken is then publicly slaughtered, and though claimed to be given to "the poor," thousands of Kaporos chickens are stuffed into garbage bags dead and alive and otherwise discarded as trash, as documented in Brooklyn and Los Angeles in 2012. Prior to the ceremony, the chickens are packed in transport crates, and unused birds have been found abandoned in their crates when the ceremony was over.

The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos seeks to replace chickens in kaporos rituals for 3 principal reasons:

The use of chickens as kaporos is cruel. They suffer in being held with their wings pinned painfully backward, in being waved over the heads of practitioners, and in being packed in crates for days without food, water or shelter leading up to the ritual, which violates tsa'ar ba'alei chaim, the mandate prohibiting cruelty to animals.

The use of chickens is not required by Jewish law. It is not a mitzvah but a custom that originated in the middle ages.

The use of money is a perfectly acceptable atonement that not only avoids animal cruelty but reduces poverty and shows compassion. Instead of chickens, a packet of money can be waved and chanted over by kaporos practitioners and donated directly to their favorite charities. 

EndChickensAsKaporos's YouTube Channel

Eminent Orthodox Rabbis Oppose Using Chickens in Kaporos Rituals on Grounds of Religion, Morality, and Compassion for Animals

"Since this is not a clear duty but rather a tradition, and in the light of the kashrut problems and cruelty to animals, and in the light of all of what our aforementioned rabbis said, it is recommended that one should prefer to conduct the atonement ceremony with money, thus also fulfilling the great mitzva of helping poor people."
--Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Head of Jerusalem's Yeshivat Ateret Cohanim and Rabbi of Beit El, in a letter to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel quoted in The Jerusalem Post, September 14, 2010. http://www.jpost.com/VideoArticles/Article.aspx?id=188106

"Beyond the objections of the Ramban, Rashba and the Bet Yosef to the custom of 'kapparot,' and beyond the warnings of rabbinic authorities such as the Chayei Adam, Kaf HaChaim, Aruch HaShulchan and the Mishanah Brurah regarding the halachic infringements involved in using live fowl for this custom, the latter also desecrates the prohibition against "tzaar baalei chayim" (causing cruelty to animals). Those who wish to fulfill this custom can do so fully and indeed in a far more halachically acceptable manner by using money as a substitute as proposed by the latter authorities mentioned above."
--Rabbi David Rosen, CBE, KSG, International Director of Interreligious Affairs, AJC, and Chief Rabbinate of Israel's Honorary Advisor on Interfaith Relations. Former Chief Rabbi of Ireland, August 25, 2011

"A custom must operate within the confines of Judaism's basic fundamental values. The Torah prohibits Jews from causing any unnecessary pain to living creatures, even psychological pain. It says in the Book of Proverbs, 'The righteous person considers the soul of his or her animal.' The pain caused to the chickens in the process of performing Kapparot is absolutely unnecessary. Giving money is not only a more humane method of performing the practice of Kapparot but it is also a more efficient way of ensuring that those who are in need will receive the requisite assistance."
--Rabbi Shlomo Segal, Rabbi of Beth Shalom of Kings Bay in Brooklyn, New York, August 25, 2011

If you agree, please sign our petition urging practitioners of kaporos to use money instead of chickens. Thank you for your support.


Lubavitch World Headquarters
Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, Director
770 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11213 

Phone: 718 774.4000
Fax: 718 774.2718
Email: info@lubavitch.com

We highly encourage writing personalized and original letters, as they get a lot of attention from recipients.

Recent signatures


    1. Please Sign Our Petition Urging Enforcement of Laws Being Broken by Kaporos

      Please Sign Our Petition Urging Enforcement of Laws Being Broken by Kaporos Practitioners in New York

      Animal Cruelty Laws & Public Health Codes Trump Religious Exemptions

      Kaporos observers “should be cultivating mercy for all those who suffer and not be perpetuating pain on sentient creatures in the name of piety.” – Orthodox Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, A Yom Kippur of Mercy or Cruelty? | The Jewish Week.

      The fact that Kaporos sites in New York are connected to a religious ritual does not exempt it from laws that are being broken by Kaporos practitioners. While the slaughter itself may be “protected,” the attendant animal cruelties, sanitation and health code violations are not.

      To see 5 examples of the numerous applicable laws that government agencies have a duty to enforce, please click on our Change.org Petition. We ask that you add your signature, and if possible a few thoughtful words of your own, about why you are petitioning New York State and New York City law enforcement to enforce the animal cruelty law and public health codes being violated by Kaporos practitioners in the week leading up to Yom Kippur (the Jewish Day of Atonement) which this year starts at sunset October 3 and ends at nightfall October 4. Click on the Petition:


      Urge Enforcement of Laws Being Broken by Kaporos Practitioners in New York

      Animal Cruelty Laws & Public Health Codes Trump Religious Exemptions Kaporos meaning "atonements" is a medieval custom preceding Yom Kippur - the...

    2. Reached 5,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Madison Idso STATELINE, NV
      • 5 months ago

      Please stop cruel animal abuse. Chickens deserve to be treated humanely. Thank you.

    • Jeff Idso DANVILLE, CA
      • 5 months ago

      There is not reason for animal abuse. Please help stop it.

    • Michael Schwager PLANTATION, FL
      • 6 months ago

      Rabbi - I'm a Jew who believes in compassion towards animals. Why don't you view the video of Rabbi Jonassan Gershom, who is an inspiration in treatment towards farm animals. Here's his YouTube: http://enrichourworld.net/528/

    • Char Bushor ALTHA, FL
      • 7 months ago

      This is just plain F-ed-up behavior! What a bunch of wackos!

    • Christine Lea FRUITPORT, MI
      • 9 months ago

      This is such an intelligent species.why treat them this way. WHY?


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