Other Ways to Make Atonement

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel is campaigning to raise public awareness of the need to exchange the Kapparot custom to one of giving charity

As Yom Kippur, and with it the Kapparot custom, approach, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 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.
Through the “Not Your Kind of Atonement” campaign the Society will raise the issue in the public agenda through the media, by means of distributing flyers in synagogues and by volunteers who will go out to the various markets to protest this cruel custom.

The custom of Kapparot, which is carried out during the Ten Days of Repentance or in the early morning on 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 die in torment from the heat and dehydration 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 in the Society 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.
Those interested in joining the Society’s volunteers in this campaign, that will take place in the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv on Sunday, 23 September are invited to contact the Society’s office at *4553 or to follow the announcements on our Facebook page.

We wish you an easy fast and May You be Inscribed in the Book of Life.