Villager photos by Clayton Patterson
Out fowl sins!
Kapparot, a ritual performed by some Jews between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, was held on the Lower East Side in a parking lot across from the Seventh Precinct one night last week. The ritual involves transferring a person’s sin to a live chicken a rooster for a male, a hen for a female, preferably white, the color of purity by swinging the chicken in a circle over the person’s head while reciting various selections from the Psalms and book of Job. For a pregnant woman, both a hen and rooster are used, since the unborn child could be either sex. Traditionally, the chicken is then killed and it or its monetary value given to the needy. In the Lower East Side event, the chickens were not killed at the scene. Left, boys man the chicken cages. Right, a girl transfers her sins to a hen. Critics, including some of the great Jewish scholars of yore, have noted that Kapparot isn’t mentioned in either the Torah or the Talmud, and some have called it “foolish.”