Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) had a very strong response to a Brooklyn group that has filed a lawsuit in the Manhattan Supreme Court against members and congregations in the Brooklyn Jewish community demanding a stop to the custom of Kaporos.
Kaporos is the Jewish custom performed between the holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) where people take a live chicken and wave it over their heads three times. The suit has called the ritual “barbaric” and “turns public streets into slaughterhouses.”
Assemblyman Hikind emphatically said, “The language used in this lawsuit is a disgusting misrepresentation of our custom. The custom merely involves waving a chicken over a person’s head. And it’s something that I have done every year since I was a little kid in Williamsburg. For anyone to call this ritual ‘barbaric’ is insulting to Jews worldwide. Shame on them!”
Traditionally, after the chicken is waved over the participants’ heads, it is then slaughtered according to Jewish law in a humane way where the chicken feels as little pain as possible. Its meat is then distributed to poor families desperate for food.
The lawyers representing the group have called the event in an affidavit “a carnival- like atmosphere of bloody violence.” Hikind continued, “I live here, walk around here, have an office in the heart of the community. And I don’t know what in God’s name they’re talking about. They make it sound like there’s blood running in the streets. It’s just not true.”
Judaism is vehemently against the mistreatment and torture of animals. The Torah even commands that when a person comes home, he has to feed his animals before feeding himself. Any animal that is eaten, has to be slaughtered (shechted) in the most humane way possible. In fact, if it’s not done in the most humane way, the meat is considered treif (not kosher).
“This group bringing the suit should be more understanding toward the customs of others. This lawsuit is an example of complete cultural insensitivity,” Hikind concluded.
(YWN Desk – NYC)