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Kapparot: Why Thousands of Chickens Die in Cruel Jewish Holiday Ritual

Each year on the eve of Yom Kippur, to atone for their sins, devotees swing a bird above their head three times, the worshipers recite a prayer asking God to allow them to atone by slaughtering the chicken.

DAVID BRENNAN: ‘As Jewish communities worldwide gear up for Yom Kippur — the holiest day in the Jewish calendar — thousands of chickens will die as part of a controversial atonement ritual… Each year on the eve of Yom Kippur, chickens — roosters for men and hens for women — serve as stand-ins for devotees to atone for their sins. As each performs the ceremony and swings a bird above their head three times, the worshipers recite a prayer asking God to allow them to atone by slaughtering the chicken… Modern opposition to the ritual slaughter of chickens is largely motivated by dismay with the cruelty to the animals involved…

But the ancient ritual has faced criticism, both from animal rights activists and senior Jewish religious leaders. Many believe the tradition is both cruel to the animals and an unnecessary and archaic element of the Jewish religion. Each year, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel appeals to religious groups to help change the nature of the event, calling on worshipers to donate to charity in place of chicken slaughter’. SOURCE…

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