YOM KIPPUR - RAMADAN - SAVAGE BLOOD SACRIFICE CONTRADICTS THE BIBLE - ISAIAH 1;11
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish youth looks at a man holding chickens as they take part in the Kaparot ritual in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighbourhood on September 12, 2013, ahead of Yom Kippur, which starts at sundown today. Photo by REUTERS/Ammar Awad
I read a fascinating article in the los Angeles Times a couple of years ago about local protests against the sacrificial slaughter of chickens being conducted in Jewish enclaves throughout Los Angeles — and, indeed, throughout the world. The ritual, known as kaparot, kapparot or kaparos, is supposed to help "cleanse" people of their sins. It's an orthodox Jewish thing.
More progressive Jews are calling the ritual archaic and meaningless, and point to the treatment of the chickens before their deaths as further reason to stop the killings. Faith leaders have joined with animal-rights activists in the protest.
The sacrifices are all tied into the "High Holy Days" leading up to Yom Kippur. This period is meant to be a period of "atonement" — asking God to forgive one's sins. The chicken is meant to "accept" all the sins of those present and then be killed (knife to the throat) and then eaten by those in need.
It would be a shame, though, if all non-Jewish people ever associated with Yom Kippur was chicken sacrifices. Because, for most Jews, it's about something else entirely.
Years ago, my people did that awful ritual - swinging a poor live chicken over their heads. My family didn't do it. My mother wrapped money in a handkerchief for the sacrifice instead and the money went to charity.