Orthodox Jews Didn’t Kill Thousands Of Chickens in Brooklyn. Heat Stroke Did!

09/13/2013 12:01 PM |

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The chicken-killing ultra-Orthodox tradition of Kapparot has already brought us arguably the grossest meme of the election cycle, but this year’s ceremonies were actually a little less gruesome than expected. Sort of.

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The Daily News gleefully reported yesterday that planned ceremonies (in which chickens are killed as a means of atoning for sin) on Wednesday were thrown off by the day’s high temperatures, as thousands of chickens died in their crates before Kapparot rituals could even take place.

“We lost about 2,000 chickens because of the heat,” one local shul employee told the paper, and another yeshiva reportedly emailed its members saying, “Due to weather condition, a lot of chickens died. Sorry 4 the inconvenient.”

The incident doesn’t really seem to have changed anyone’s mind about anything going on here. An employee of the same yeshiva said that the “chickens did not come to any harm because God takes care of everything in his own way,” while Rina Deych of the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos countered, “I am horrified, I am upset, but I am not surprised.” Another pro-chicken activist put it differently, pointing out that of all the ways for the chickens to die this week, heat may actually be as ideal as it gets. “Their misery is so totally compounded that the best thing to happen to them under the circumstances is to die,” she said. Bleak.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.