|Police attempt to stop animal-rights protestors stealing a chicken|
Jewish chicken-slaughtering operations ordered to shut down Animal rights activists and some liberal Jews protest the practice of kaparot, in which sins are transferred to sacrificial chickens. (L.A. Times Sept 13, 2013) by Martha Groves and Matt Stevens
The California Department of Food and Agriculture said Friday that it has ordered the shutdown of two Pico-Robertson operations that were participating in a traditional Orthodox Jewish ritual that involves the slaughtering of chickens.
"I told them what they're doing is against state law," said Rhett Dunn, a Food and Agriculture investigator. "They have to be properly registered."
Beit Aaron, a Sephardic Orthodox outreach organization, and Ohel Moshe, a synagogue, were performing the ritual -- known as kaparot (or kaparos)-- this week in the lead-up to Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.
Beit Aaron's operation was in a makeshift tent behind a building it rents on Pico Boulevard. Ohel Moshe's practitioners were operating out of a temporary plywood structure in the synagogue's parking lot, also on Pico.
The ancient ritual, practiced by a relatively small group of very observant Orthodox Jews, aims to provide believers an opportunity to atone for their sins. A practitioner holds a chicken under the wings and circles it over the penitent's head or nearby, reciting an appropriate prayer. He then kills the chicken with a sharp blade and drains its blood. The chickens typically are then dressed and donated to charities such as the Midnight Mission.
Organizer, Rabbi Jonathan Klein of Faith Action for Animals says that more than 100 people attended and that some stayed to demonstrate late into the night.
Since the ceremony, activists including several staunch vegans and alarmed residents have taken to Pico Boulevard each evening, handing out fliers, setting up candlelight vigils and even bargaining with one kaparot manager to rescue chickens on the chopping block in exchange for protesting more peacefully.
The demonstrations have sometimes gotten testy. Protesters and kaparot managers alike contend they've been peppered with anti-Semitic slurs. In one instance, police were called after a woman refused to exit a parking lot where she heard the screeching of fowl. By the time police arrived, she had walked down the block. No one was injured, and no arrests were made.
Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jewish people, begins Friday evening and ends Saturday evening.