Haifa permits Kaparot ritual, bucking growing trend

Despite growing campaign to outlaw 'Kaparot' ritual with chickens, the city of Haifa announces that the ritual can proceed uninterrupted.

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Tzvi Lev,

Chickens can be traumatized too
Chickens can be traumatized too
Israel News Photo: (file)

The northern Israeli city of Haifa has bucked the growing trend of cities around the country outlawing the 'Kaparot' ritual being done with chickens and announced that the ritual can proceed uninterrupted.

Kaparot is a traditional prayer said before the Yom Kippur fast begins in which a person circles his head with a chicken or money, symbolizing that they are substitutes for him and are to be punished or given to charity for his sins. The chicken to be slaughtered for a meal, usually donated to the poor, and the money given to charity.

Haifa Deputy Mayor Aryeh Blitenthal (United Torah Judaism) said that "after a series of consultations, the Kaparot custom will be taking place in Haifa with the full coordination of the Ministry of Agriculture and Haifa's veterinary services".

Blitenthal added that the ritual will go on "despite the provocative complaints various animal welfare organizations filed with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Haifa Municipality, who constantly make false claims due to supposed concern for the bird's welfare".

In recent years, there has been a opposition from animal rights groups to the use of chickens in the prayer. The Agriculture Ministry has launched a campaign discouraging the use of chickens, taking out large full-page ads in prominent religious newspapers imploring the public to use money instead.

In August, the central city of Petach Tikva announced that the ritual was strictly forbidden, and promised that police would crack down on people slaughtering chickens in the streets, which has been done in years past. The move comes after Tel Aviv and Rishon Letzion banned the practice in 2016.

The custom has also faced opposition in the United States. In 2016, a Los Angeles judge issued a temporary restraining order against performing the ritual in any format in the city of Irvine, California.