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Not Your Kind of Atonement

MK Eitan Kabel Join the Society’s Campaign calling for replacing Atonement Customs with Charity Offerings


Snir Sharoni  | date: 13/10/2011   

As Yom Kippur, and with it the Kapparot custom, approach, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – Tel Aviv is once again campaigning to raise public awareness of the urgency of exchanging the Kapparot custom, involving the slaughter of chickens, with the giving of charity. This activity is an integral part of the Society’s 84 year-long battle to enhance animal welfare and lessen the suffering and pain of animals.

Through the “Not Your Kind of Atonement” campaign we will raise the issue in the public agenda through the media, by means of distributing flyers in the Knesset, and by holding a demonstration in Tel Aviv highlighting the cruelty involved in this custom.

MK’s from different parties have joined the campaign this year and together with Rabbi Menachem Froman, have made a public entreaty to exchange the slaughter of chickens with the giving of charity when carrying out the custom of Kapparot. Every day we will post a short clip on this subject on our site.

The custom of Kaparot, which is carried out during the Ten Days of Repentance or in the early morning of the eve of the Day of Atonement, is intended to atone for man’s sins through slaughtering chickens. The chickens used for the atonement, are raised in extremely crowded conditions, brought under inhumane conditions to those who follow the custom, and are often left to wait long hours without food and water, until their slaughter. Some of them dehydrate and die in agony while waiting and some of those who survive till the end, continue to expire and twitch in agony until finally succumbing to their death, following the slaughter.<


The origin of the custom, prevalent since the 6th Century, came to offer an alternative to the atonement ceremony where a scapegoat was sacrificed in the Holy Temple. Over the years disagreements broke out with regard to religious law relating to the slaughter of the chickens, and different rabbinical authorities (among them Rabbi Solomon Ben Aderet, Rabbi Yosef Karo (the author of the Shulchan Aruch), Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachman and others) expressed objections to this act, saying it should be replaced by giving charity to the poor or through the use of plants instead of chickens.

We believe that on Yom Kippur, a time of self-examination, we should show mercy and compassion to animals and not cause them any pain or suffering. On this day in particular it is appropriate to help the weak and needy by giving donations and being charitable. .
We wish you an easy fast and May You be Inscribed in the Book of Life.

For information and a short film on the Kapparot custom,
press here

For information on the publicity activities carried out last year, press here

For Rabbi Shlomo Aviner’s appeal made last year, press here

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