Hikind on Kaporos Chickens Lawsuit: ‘Shame on You!’


kap1.jpgAssemblyman 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)


  1. Well put, Dov! Kudos!
    We have our enemies! Rubashkin lingers in jail because of these people: hecksher tsedek and PETA. Shame on them! Two blasphemous organizations who,I would love to see brought down, on impropieties!

  2. Are you aware that Hikind was one of only 3 assemblymen not to sponsor ANY legislation in the assembly last year, one of the other 2 was indicted. We need legislators not press people in Albany.

  3. It is the left-wing Democrats who enable such lawsuits by their “war on religion” (not just us, they oppose all religion and morality on a non-discriminatory basis), and allowing people to bring lawsuits over matters that don’t affect them (the technical term is “standing”). And Hikind’s is a Democrat.

  4. With all due respect, Mr. Hikind, have you walked down the street around Ave P and taken a wiff of the nauseating stench? And have you seen how these animals are treated before slaughtering? Bottom line,many Torah opinions feel this custom is wrong and feel it is better to use money.

  5. 1) Check the Halachah. If memory serves, feeding the animals first is not only when “coming home”.
    It’s every day!

    2) Now, more than ever, we must educate the masses (especially the children) on how to hold/handle the chicken during the procedure, and when waiting on the line for the Shochet.
    We can do more to further reduce the fowl’s discomfort.

  6. Boruch Hashem there are a fair share of self hating Jews on YWN as well! Glad to see. Fools are bountiful today. We live in a world where slaughtering a chicken gets more condemnation than human beings being beheaded, than infants having stones thrown at them. A world where a human being collapses in middle of a busy Manhattan street and no one stops to assist! A world where a handicapped woman is beaten in a Walmart while bypassers do nothing to stop them. BUT if a Jew wants to wave a chicken over his head, the world comes to an end! IN short- we live in an upside down world.

  7. Kapparos can be done humanely, but I have seen and smelled chickens that were starved, stacked in travel crates so that the chickens underneath were covered in dirt from the chickens on top, live chickens in crates together with dead chickens and other abuses. I believe that kapporos should be done, but in a more humane way.

  8. Folks, shchita is a bloody mess. There’s nothing new about that. The problem with the imbeciles that scream publicly how it should be done with money is that they don’t see past the to of their noses. WE DON’T NEED GOVT MEDDLING IN OUR GESHEFT!!!

    Kaporos, milah, education where does it so with you people?

  9. Thank you Dov for bring out the issue nicely, thanks @unclemo for your points. And I’ll add that we do need to be more careful in how we Handel the chickens, not even for these antisemites, simply because of Tzar ballei chaim, just a little more care

  10. There was a time I switched from my families custom of using money for kaparos until one year chickens were left out on a Friday night during a rain where the birds in the lower cases were drowned. The kaparos dealer wanted to make sure he had product for matzoa Shabbos kapparos it the expense of the animals suffering. In general I have seen the way the kaparos are handled before they reach their intended use seems cruel to me. I have since switched back to using money. Also, many say the proceeds go to zadakah, I don’t trust them not that it matters but a live chicken cost a lot less than what they charge.

  11. 13th Ave in Borough Park isnt the best place to store chickens in a coup and slaughter them. Go to a chicken farm if you must do it.

    Because of the conditions, most of these chickens are spoiled and cannot be given to the poor anyway. Give money to the poor, they will more likely be able to use it

  12. unfortunately these poor souls have nothing better to do with their time. Let them better deal with the jungle in the streets with senseless killing and a city council that is living in la la land trying to further hog tie the police.

  13. The above article really does not describe the situation. Here is the link to the article in the NY Daily News


    The article sounds credible including the accounts of the streets being used as a slaughter house and not that well.

    I have seen kaporas slaughtered in Geula and Shimon HaTsadik. There is no way to expiate the practice. I have seen dead chickens littering the ground in Brachfeld and have smelled their stench in Bayit VeGan. The time has come for this custom to be forgotten.

  14. Shouldn’t the men and boys in the accompanying photo be wearing bigger hats if they are going to hold chickens over their heads? And is that where the custom of the big black hat comes from?

  15. @UncleMo
    As the Shulcan Aruch states kappra with chickens is darchei emotional. The way of the goyim. Just stating what our Rabbis say.

  16. @UncleMo
    As the Shulcan Aruch states kappra with chickens is darchei emori. The way of the goyim. Just stating what our Rabbis say.