Jewish Journal


September 18, 2013

Letters to the Editor: Kaparot, Jewish by choice


Kaparot Ritual Is Met With Outrage

“Where is Hamas when you need them?” and “Go back home to Germany” were the catcalls we heard at the demonstration on the Sunday before Yom Kippur (“Kaparot Concession Sought,” Sept. 13). Demonstrators led by radical vegan Rabbi Jonathan Klein spewed hatred and accosted Jews who were following Jewish traditions of thousands of years. For religious Jews it was chilling reminder of the disdain and hostility some on the radical fringe of the Jewish community have for their own religion and those who follow its traditions. Sadly it was Jew vs. Jew in the most terrible fashion. Those with an agenda of animal rights demonstrated against kaparot to promote their radical viewpoint.

Kaparot is a time-honored ritual reaching back millennia. It is done humanly following the traditions of kosher slaughter as Jews have done for thousands of years. The chickens are donated to charities and the poor. According to USDA regulations, a small portion of chicken parts cannot not be used for human consumption and must be disposed of by law. It is this very tiny part that was slated for pick up by the sanitation department.

Sadly, extreme segments of the Jewish community, who have an agenda inimical to tradition and support a radical agenda of animal rights, have used kaparot as a rallying cry for their movements. This crosses the line of decency and respect that we all should have for each other.

Rabbi Yaakov Nourollah, L.A. Kaparos Director, Bait Aaron

It is gratifying that every year, more and more Orthodox rabbis are speaking out publicly against this vicious, heartless, pitiless, shameful ritual that could never absolve anyone of sin because it is itself a sin of total cruelty to animals. Shame on these cruel people.

Karen Davis, Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos via jewishjournal.com

The 1,000-year-old kaparot tradition continues to have meaning for many Jews. Those, apart from vegetarians, who are offended by the slaughter of chickens or other animals, forget where their own meals come from.  Yet, I am appalled by the evidence you uncovered that chickens are being thrown away en masse rather than donated as food to charities, as many of the “customers” of kaparot services are misled to believe. 

I have a proposal. Just as our community has developed our own systems of inspection and certification of kashrut for restaurants and markets, can’t we also create reliable, independent organizations to inspect and certify that kaparot providers are actually transporting and donating the slaughtered chickens, in a sanitary fashion, to bona fide charitable organizations? Jews who observe the kaparot tradition would then have the power to choose only certified providers.

Scott Taryle, Los Angeles

I saw birds stacked up and covered in urine and feces. They were in the hot sun not even being given any water by these so-called religious people. In the name of God, one should not let an animal suffer so much. With so much cruelty how can this atone for any sin? God is watching and probably saying, “Do you really believe you can scapegoat a chicken for your sins?” I heard the defeated clucks of chickens who had no water in 90-degree heat and this is done in the name of God?

Stacie Inkel via jewishjournal.com

The chickens used in kaparot are used to feed the homeless and the money collected is used for charity organizations. I like how this article fails to mention the “activist” who called religious Jews who were performing their religious beliefs as Nazis, Satanists, pagans and murderers. This article fails to mention how some of these activists spit on and physically assaulted people while LAPD stood by and watched. Where is the FBI and DHS investigating the civil right violations against the Jews and interferences with their religious practices or the arrests of the vegan “activists’ ” terroristic behavior against elderly religious Jews who were pushed, shoved, spit on and had anti-Semitic insults hurled at them?

Adam Kratt via jewishjournal.com

The Mitzvah of Being Jewish by Choice

Thank you, Isabel Hacker (“Chesed by Choice,” Sept. 13). Thank you for this courageous and painful reminder of how hurtful we can be to each other. As I wrote for this paper last year, people who choose Judaism like you have are heroes; you’re the closest example we have to Abraham and Sarah who themselves were Jews by Choice. How dare anyone in our community dismiss you or your children for making that choice? They should be ashamed. I am ashamed of the stigma that still exists in the Jewish world toward those that choose to join our people. We are blessed to have you and based on your experience — right now we don’t deserve such a blessing.

Rabbi Dan Moskovitz, Vancouver, British Columbia via jewishjournal.com

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