Kapparot

The tradition dates back at least 800 years and calls for believers to wave a live chicken three times over their heads ahead of the arrival of Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest day, which begins at sundown Friday. After slaughter, religious Jews often donate the meat to charity. Jewish leaders across Israel and the United States have called for an end to the practice for years, but leaders of insular ultra-Orthodox communities have been resistant. The controversy surrounding kaparot stretches back centuries. Rabbi Joseph Karo, one of the major codifiers of Jewish law, called it a “foolish custom” reminiscent of pagan practices. Since his 16th-century pronouncement, Jews of Sephardic, or Middle Eastern, origin have tended to perform kaparot without animals, sometimes swinging sacks of coins above their heads before donating the money to charity. Those following Ashkenazi, or European, customs, have continued to use chickens, however. (YouTube)
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