Los Angeles Jewish Center Sued Over Yom Kippur Chicken-swinging Ritual

Activists cite animal rights law, say slaughtered animals must be used for food

A man practices the kapparot ritual in Jerusalem, 2012.
Olivier Fitoussi

An animal rights group has sued a Jewish center in Los Angeles to prevent it from using live chickens in the pre-Yom Kippur kapparot ritual.

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

The center performed the ritual last year in its parking lot. The suit alleges the chickens were killed and discarded without being used for food, violating an animal rights law, the Los Angeles Times reported.

>> Read more: Kapparot, an un-Jewish custom | Opinion

During the ceremony, a chicken is swung by its legs above a person and then slaughtered, symbolically transforming the person’s sins to the bird. The meat is supposed to be donated to charity. Some people substitute money for the chicken.

Vandals recently splashed white paint all over the front of the building. Repairing the damage cost about $10,000. Vandals hit the synagogue also in 2016.