Court okays Yom Kippur chickens ritual in New York
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Court okays Yom Kippur chickens ritual in New York

Justice Debra James says there is insufficient evidence that kapparot is a public nuisance

Illustrative photo of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man participating in a kapparot ritual, in which a chicken is swung over one's head in the belief that one transfers the sins from the past year into the chicken. (Dima Vazinovich/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man participating in a kapparot ritual, in which a chicken is swung over one's head in the belief that one transfers the sins from the past year into the chicken. (Dima Vazinovich/Flash90)

The Yom Kippur ritual of kapparot can proceed in New York, a state Supreme Court judge ruled.

Justice Debra James ruled Monday in Manhattan that there was not enough evidence to prove that the ritual is a public nuisance, the New York Post reported. The decision was in response to a lawsuit filed in July by The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos.

Kapparot involves swinging a live chicken over one’s head three times and reciting a prayer to cast sins to the bird. The chicken is then slaughtered and donated to the poor. In recent years, money has replaced the chicken in the rite for many Jewish groups.

The lawsuit, which named several rabbis, synagogues, the New York Police Department and New York City, accused the police and health departments of assisting the ritual by blocking off streets and sidewalks, and not enforcing city and state laws that regulate health and animal cruelty issues.

Some 50,000 chickens have been ordered in Brooklyn in preparation for this year’s kapparot, according to reports.

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