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Once Again, For the Birds…

For many years, VINE has offered refuge to chicken survivors of the Kaporos rituals that take place in New York each Yom Kippur. For those who don’t know what Kaporos is or of our longstanding efforts to end it, please see this report on last year’s protest and rescue.

“Chickens as Kaporos” is an outmoded and cruel tradition still practiced by certain Orthodox Jews and Hasids, in which a chicken is swung over one’s head (or the head of someone else) in an effort to cast the sins of the human into the bird. The chicken is then murdered and the collected corpses are used to (in theory) “Feed The Poor.” Our cofounder Miriam Jones, who was raised Orthodox, heads up VINE’s efforts to oppose this ritual while we all cooperate in caring for any birds she or others are able to rescue and bring to sanctuary.

Please watch this gripping video, in which Miriam arrives home from last year’s protest:

Miriam’s subsequent reflections on “Compassion, Empathy, and Rage” are essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how real-world experiences such as watching laughing families torture chickens can, and must, be factored into our activist strategies.

This year, VINE has worked in conjunction with the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos to plan the protests; please see the Alliance letter below for all the details. If you will be in New York on September 10-12, or if you CAN be in New York on those dates, please get in touch with us here to see how you can help. There is so much to be done to end this horrific practice.

This year, VINE also will be able to welcome up to 60 survivors from the rituals into our sanctuary, thanks to a generous grant from the ASPCA that enabled us to build a special coop and area for these special-needs birds. Please help us to support them throughout their lives by making a donation now, knowing that your gift will be doubled thanks to our ongoing challenge grant.


And, again, please join us in NYC if you can:

 Chicken Kaporos Demos in Brooklyn:

Please Join Us!

Street Protests, Chicken Rescues,  

 Moving Illuminated Billboards, New Posters!  

We Need YOU! September 10-12, 2013


Dear Friends,

Please join our 4th annual street protest in Brooklyn, NY against the cruel and needless use of chickens in Kaporos rituals. This year we’re renting a “moving lit billboard” – a van with huge images illuminated on the sides and the back.

Sept 10, 2013, 6 – 8 p.m.  
792 Eastern Parkway, (corner Kingston Ave.)
Brooklyn, NY, 11213

Sept 11, 2013, 6 – 8 p.m.
502 Ave. P, (corner E. 5th Street)
Brooklyn, NY, 11223

Sept 12, 2013, 6 – 8 p.m.
792 Eastern Parkway, (corner Kingston Ave.)
Brooklyn, NY, 11213

An activist Hasidic Rabbi has generously provided us with images, including one of himself tenderly holding a rooster, an audio file to BROADCAST FROM THE VAN URGING PRACTITIONERS TO USE MONEY, NOT CHICKENS, and translations of our messages into Hebrew along with English.

We know it is difficult to attend a demo where animals are suffering and dying in front of us, but as hard as it is for us, it is infinitely harder for the chickens, and we must be there for them and show that we care.

Please read A Wing and A Prayer for more information about the Kaporos (Kapparot) ritual. Please join us in Brooklyn to let the chickens know we’re there for them.

Please watch our new 60-second video featuring Rabbi Yonassan Gershom,

3 comments to Once Again, For the Birds…

  • Valerie Traina
    Thank you very much for posting this and for taking in so many chickens. My good friend, Rina Deych, is a co-organizer and founding member of the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos. She is working very hard to get activists to this protest. She’s told me that regardless of the practitioners’ claim that the chickens go to the poor, you will find multitudes of corpses in dumpsters after the ritual. She’s also told me that for days prior to the ritual the chickens are caged without food or water, and often exposed to the elements. This isn’t even a ceremony rooted in religion. The group has done the research and has found that it was a cultural tradition in certain parts of Eastern Europe. Rabbis around the world, including in the U.S. are horrified to learn of its existence.
  • Miriam
    Valerie, thanks for your email. Rina is a truly amazing woman — one of those people who exudes kindness (and I am definitely not someone who says that lightly). I am honored to work with her and the rest of the Alliance.

    You are right that bags of corpses are tossed in dumpsters, which of course undermines their claim that there is something redeeming in this ritual. You are also right that this ritual was invented in the middle ages, in Eastern Europe, and has been cast off by most practicing Jews today.

    The key is overturning the Supreme Court decision that allows animal sacrifice as part of religious practice. This sickening ritual is far from the only example of such sacrifice. Some day, that ruling will be challenged and overcome, so long as we keep up the pressure.

  • From Florida I am there in spirit and full support. Thanks for all you do! <3

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