The Environmental Protection Ministry on Tuesday called on the religious Jewish community to donate money instead of practicing the kapparot ceremony with live chickens in the run-up to the Day of Atonement, which starts on Wednesday evening.
The ritual involves reciting prayers while swinging a live chicken around one’s head three times in the belief that this transfers one’s sins to the chicken ahead of Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. The chicken is then slaughtered and donated to the poor. Traditionally, money donations can replace the chicken in the rite, and many Jewish groups have encouraged this method.
“Most of the community that practices the kapparot tradition today do it by giving money to charity for the poor,” said Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg, a longtime animal rights activist.
“Rabbis have also come out over the years against the practice, which involves great suffering of the animals, and the donations to charity turn the mitzvah into something even greater.”
Animal rights activists have long condemned the practice.