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Kapparot Rescue 2012

Back in 2005, VINE Sanctuary (then called Eastern Shore Sanctuary) assisted the first-ever rescue of chickens abused in the Kapparot ritual through which some Orthodox Jews seek to expiate their own sins by expelling them into baby birds who, after being tortured by being swung through the air, are killed. That year, hundreds of birds who had not been used in the ritual had been left to die in crates on the streets of Brooklyn. In subsequent years, animal advocates have proactively protested the ritual, which most scholars agree is not a legitimate expression of the annual obligations associated with Yom Kippur, and sought to save as many birds as possible.

In 2005, our sanctuary took 50 birds and helped to find homes for scores more. In all but two years since, we have been able to find room for at least a few birds rescued from this cruel ritual.

This year, sanctuary co-founder Miriam Jones, who was herself raised as an Orthodox Jew, personally joined the protests while also aiding the efforts to save as many birds as possible. She drove back home with 29 birds. In this video, you will meet those baby birds and also hear Miriam’s reactions to the experience of being able to save so few in the face of so much suffering.

13 comments to Kapparot Rescue 2012

  • There are no words for this. Thank you, Miriam, for bearing witness and saving those you could.
  • victoria figurelli
    Thanks for being who you are and saving some of the chickens.I must be hard to witness this every year with no end in site.On 092312 I was driving down ventura blvd and ther was a sign in front of an synogue in Encino in regards to kapporos I then pulled in back where the was an ally and saw 5 crates of chicken pilled on top of one another . I called La spca and they eturned my call and said ther was nothing they could do They have had several complaints in the past I then asked them isnt this a violation of california penal code they told me I would have to witness this event They consider it part of a religious belief and thought they have investigated this they cannot really do anything unless any no used chickens for service had died of lack of food and water.So if you Miriam feel bad that you could not save more I feel worse I did no save any
  • victoria figurelli
    Sorry for some mispelled words but I a m very upset
  • pattrice
    Don’t apologize! Of course you are upset! It’s when people are not upset by suffering that something has gone very wrong. And to feel helpless in the face of suffering–that is often more traumatic than being injured oneself.

    Remember this: You did act. You did not succeed, but you did try, and next year you can try again. Between now and then, you might want to make contact with LA-area animal advocates and especially with animal rights lawyers in the area, who will know where the “religious freedom” protections end. It may not be possible to stop the ritual itself, but it may be possible to demand and get intervention into practices like leaving crates of birds in an alley.

    As for the ritual itself, there may be Jewish animal advocates in your area who would be willing to help stage a protest or otherwise put pressure on this temple. In Israel, the protests against this ritual get bigger every year, and they have had some effect. More and more rabbis and other Jewish leaders are coming out with strong statements to the effect that this ritual is not mandated by the faith and actually enacts (and teaches) values that are inimical to the faith.

  • victoria figurelli
    Thanks for your support. Next year will different for me I will try to arrange a protest I am sure there are some activists in my area.i will also contact the Alliance to End chickens at Kapporos they do a wonderful job in Ny
  • bird brain
    These people are stupid. Do they REALLY think that their sins will be cast into a bird they spin over their head? If it was not so barbaric to the bird it would be laughable. Stupidity knows no bounds.
  • bird brain
    wonder if the Jewish population in Woodstock Vermont are doing this?
  • pattrice
    This belief is no more “stupid” than believing that your sins will be taken away if you, as directed by the priest to whom you have confessed, say a certain number of Hail Marys. All religious rituals seem equally insane to those who do not share the beliefs on which they are based. So, we need to keep the focus here on the cruelty to animals involved in this particular ritual, which is condemned by the majority of Jewish people.

    I write as the co-founder of the sanctuary to make it clear that, even though we allowed the comments just above to be posted, we do not condone the notion that any particular religious belief is any more “stupid” than any other. The question here is not beliefs but practices. We are equal opportunity critics of any practices–“religious” or not–involving cruelty to animals.

    Finally, as to the specific question about Woodstock, VT: This ritual is performed only by a fairly small subset of Hasidic Jews and–again–is condemned by most Jewish people and their religious leaders. In the U.S., Hasidic Jews are concentrated mostly in NYC and a few other big cities. Wondering whether Jews in Vermont practice this ritual is rather like wondering whether the Catholics of Vermont follow the rituals associated with Haitian voudon.

  • victoria figurelli
  • bravebird
    They are doing great! Except for the one hen with legs that appear to be atrophied, they are lively and healthy. As they have relaxed and recovered from the trauma, their personalities have emerged. It’s so much fun to see them blossom. They’ve finished their round of isolation and medication and will be moving into the coops and yards soon.
  • victoria figurelli
    That is wonderful they can live ther rest of there lives in peace
  • […] when they eat their leafy greens. This is especially important for the birds from the recent Kapparot rescue, who are of the type bred by the poultry industry to grow unnaturally heavy unnaturally […]
  • […] water but before grain and seeds comes kale. The young chickens rescued from the Kapparot ritual last fall are of a kind (called “broilers” by the poultry industry) bred to grow unnaturally […]

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