Kapparot (illustration)
Kapparot (illustration) Flash 90

An animal rights group filed a lawsuit against a Jewish center in Los Angeles to prevent it from holding kapparot, a pre-Yom Kippur religious ritual.

The lawsuit against the Woodland Hills Hebrew Discovery Center was filed earlier this month in Los Angeles Superior Court by the Animal Protection and Rescue League and asks for an injunction to prevent the practice.

The center performed the ritual last year in its parking lot. The lawsuit alleges that the chickens were killed and discarded without using them for food, violating an animal rights law that bars maliciously and intentionally mutilating, torturing or wounding animals, the Los Angeles Times reported.

During the ceremony, a chicken is moved in a circle over a person's head and then ritually slaughtered. In performing kapparot, a person asks that any punishment he deserves should be expiated by having the chicken sent to the slaughter, this as part of the process of atonement ahead of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The meat of the chicken is then supposed to be donated to charity. Some people perform the ritual using money in place of a chicken and donate it to charity.

In recent years, lawsuits against the practice have been filed in New York and California.

Earlier this month the center was vandalized, with white paint being splashed all over the front of the building. Repairing the damage cost about $10,000. Vandals hit the synagogue also in 2016.

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