Wednesday, July 08, 2015

NY Lawsuit Seeks To End Pre-Yom Kippur Practice of Kaparot

Monday's New York Daily News reported on a state court lawsuit filed by a group of Brooklyn residents against four rabbis, a number of Hasidic congregations and the city of New York seeking to stop the annual pre-Yom Kippur practice of Kaparot.  The ritual practice that involves the slaughter of chickens has become common in recent years in Hasidic neighborhoods in Crown Heights and Boro Park. A group called Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos says the practice involves both animal cruelty and substantial public health risks.  Plaintiffs charge that New York authorities are not only not enforcing health and animal cruelty laws, but are abetting violations by blocking off streets and sidewalks so the ritual can take place. An affidavit filed by lawyers in the case says in part:
Ten years ago, Kaporos only occurred in several small alleys and a handful of synagogue parking lots. However, every year it has increased in size and scope. Today, Kaporos has become an overwhelming event that has spiraled out of control. .. (into) a carnival like atmosphere of bloody violence. Clearly this event is now motivated by money and profits, and not by religious redemption.
According to Courthouse News Service:
The complaint alleges that kaporos violates six sections of New York City health codes, four sections of New York state agricultural statutes, and various other laws and regulations. The 19-count complaint names New York City, the NYPD, and nearly 20 other religious leaders and congregations as defendants.
 Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind says that plaintiffs' depictions of the ritual are inaccurate.