In recent weeks the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel– Tel Aviv has gone out on a campaign, the goal of which is to encourage the public to replace the Kaparot ceremony and the cruel slaughtering of chickens with the giving of charity to the needy. In the framework of the campaign the Society brought the topic to the public agenda by way of the media, and informational pamphlets were distributed in synagogues and in various centers.
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Headmaster of the Ateret Yerushalaim Yeshiva and Chief Rabbi of the Bet El settlement, joined the call of the Society and recommended to the public to replace the Kaparot ceremony with the giving of donations to the poor.
The height of the campaign was reached this week when Society activists and volunteers went out to the HaTikvah marketplace, distributed the informational pamphlets, explained to passersby about the humanitarian replacement of the ritual custom, and even referred the public to special stalls that were set up in the market for the purpose of redeeming the Kaparot with charity.
It is important to mention that the custom of Kaparot, which is not defined as a commandment, took root in Jewish communities in recent centuries.
Next to those carrying out the custom, there arose voices of various rabbis and sages who warned about the danger of causing suffering to animals, and who cautioned about the resemblance of the custom to idol worship and about the legitimacy of the slaughter under Jewish law. Those who cannot raise their voices are the tens of thousands of chickens that are slaughtered every year during the days leading up to Yom Kippur. These chickens are transported under harsh conditions to those who hold to the custom, waiting for the slaughterer's knife for long hours without food or water, and some of them continue to expire and to shake in agony even after the slaughter, in great suffering until their death.
We thank all our supporters and the activists who took part in this important explanatory activity, and we hope that the ritual and barbaric ceremony of the slaughter of the Kaparot chickens will quickly disappear.
May you be inscribed in the book of life!